The Bar Council of India (BCI) has written to the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and the other judges of the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Union and State governments to provide sufficient medical facilities to advocates, judges, their staff and families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter begins with a request to treat the BCI’s demands as a separate PIL to be listed today or tomorrow, or as an interlocutory petition in the suo motu matter being heard by the apex court.
Noting the losses suffered by the legal fraternity over the past few weeks
the letter reads,
“In the last few weeks, the Bar in the country starting from Supreme Court to the trial courts has lost many eminent and brilliant Advocates and Judges. This is a huge loss not only to the Bar and Bench, but, to the society also and administration of justice as a whole. During pandemic, advocates, judges and court staff are also relentlessly working and serving the society like doctors, medical workers, police and media people.”
“The advocates, though not special citizens, are important part of the society and frontline workers and stakeholders in the matter of dispensation of justice, like judges,” the letter goes on to state.
The letter highlights many instances reported from various parts of the country where several thousands of lawyers have died owing to shortage of oxygen, insufficient number of ambulances, non-availability of beds in hospitals, etc.
Adding that PILs are mostly dealing with bigger cities, the Council states that “the precarious conditions prevailing at remote places and the harrowing conditions of the advocates and their families” is not being considered.