NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice P R Ramachandra Menon has given Rs 10,000 to an advocate saluting the resilience and never say die attitude shown by him to turn to basket weaving for earning livelihood and beat financial crunch during lockdown when cases were few and far between.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court entertained a PIL by advocate Charanjeet Chandrapal who sought a direction to the Bar Council of India, the regulatory body for advocates, to allow lawyers to take up alternative jobs to earn livelihood during the covid-19 pandemic times when lockdown has locked almost all financial avenues for legal practitioners. The petitioner said there was grave urgency as three advocates have committed suicide owing to financial strain.
“We will not bend the Rules (which prohibit lawyers registered with state bar councils from getting employed). Whether it is suicide of farmers or lawyers, we cannot bend the Rules. It is a call the BCI has to take. We will be happy if the BCI takes a call early on this issue,” said a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R S Reddy and A S Bopanna. It sought BCI’s response within two weeks to the PIL.
The TOI on June 11 reported that 34-year-old lawyer K Uthamakumaran, a first generation advocate hailing from tribal Malai Kuruvar community who has been practicing at Pattukottai court in Thanjavur for last 10 years, had turned to basket weaving as he failed to earn a single rupee in the last two months because of lockdown. A man who was earning Rs 25,000 a month had to do with Rs 6,000 he earns now from basket weaving.
Moved by the story published in TOI, Chhattisgarh HC chief Justice Menon sent him a cheque of Rs 10,000 and a commendation letter on June 11. He wrote, “The heartbreaking story appeared in today’s daily – The Times of India, Raipur Edition, persuades me to send this letter.”
“Enclosed please find a cheque for a sum of Rs 10,000. This is not a donation or contribution of any sympathy, but a ‘gift’ you deserve in recognition and appreciation of your concept/commitment to the ‘dignity of labour’. It is also to alert the Lawyers’ fraternity at large to the ‘positive’, as every Sunset will be followed by a Sunrise,” Justice Menon wrote.