Subject to BCI Approval, Bar Council of Gujarat Permits Salaried Employment to Advocates Till December 2020

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The Bar Council of Gujarat has passed a resolution on June 21, 2020. The resolution permits needy advocates to engage in alternative employment. This is amid the COVID crisis. Hence, it exempts Section 35 of the Advocates’ Act, 1961.

Background 

The Government of India imposed lockdown starting March 22, 2020. In adherence to it, Gujarat High Court ordered hearings through video conferencing and suspended the physical functioning of the Court.

The circular included hearings only on urgent matters. This caused over 75000 advocates to struggle for livelihood. 

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Moreover, Rule 47 to 52 of the Bar Council of India Rules poses certain restrictions. It prohibits practising advocates from any other form of salaried employment. Whereas, Section 35 of the Advocates’ Act, 1961 penalizes any such misconduct. 

Contents of the resolution

The Bar Council of Gujarat met on 21.06.2020 to end the miseries of the needy advocates. For the first time, a State Bar Council has taken such an initiative. 

The Council has decided to permit advocates from doing any other job/ business. The resolution will be in effect until December 31, 2020. Only the lawyers who fail economic sustainment may avail the benefit. Such lawyers must maintain the dignity of the legal profession while doing so.

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Moreover, the Council has forgone the late fees of Rs. 250. The fees due from September’19 entail to the renewal of Advocates’ Welfare Fund. Inter alia, the Council, will be taking strict action against advocates who are bad-mouthing on social media. It has been reported that the writings are against the Bar Council and its elected members. The Council will issue the notice for deviation from professional ethics. 

Furthermore, the Council had sought directions from the Chief Justice’s Committee to resume the virtual functioning of Taluka and District Courts. It has been assured that the issue will be dealt with after surveying the districts for containment zones. 

Moreover, the Council has provided financial aid to about 11.000 advocates. It has disbursed an amount of Rs. 5.35 crores over the past three months.

However, the Bar Council of India has to approve the resolution before its implementation. 


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