Amit Shah
Amit Shah
ANI Photo

New Delhi: Over 2,000 women lawyers from across the country have urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to come to the aid of "financially drained" advocates amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve the infrastructural facilities of the virtual courts.

The women lawyers, in a representation sent to the Home Minister on Friday, requested him to take steps to provide financial assistance to the advocates under the Disaster Management Act on reasonable terms and conditions. A copy of the representation has also been sent to the Prime Minister's Office, the Law Minister, and the Finance Minister.

The women lawyers started a signature campaign for the representation on July 21, which received responses from over two thousand advocates within a short span of 40 hours. Senior advocate Meera Khadakkar and Archana Pathak Dave are also among the signatories.

The Supreme Court, on July 22, took suo motu cognizance of the issue and asked the Union of India, Bar Council of India, and others to file their response.

The women lawyers, in a press statement, said that it is known to all that even during the current process of "unlock", the courts are still functioning on nominal basis only and it is the virtual courts that have become the order of the day.

"Most of the advocates do not have proper infrastructure and electronic gadgets such as laptops, scanners, good wi-fi for better bandwidth, and even dedicated spaces in the associations to participate in virtual hearings in virtual courts effectively," the statement said on Saturday.

"If the representation moved by the women advocates is considered by the Ministry, then it will be of immense help to the entire advocate community in overcoming the financial hardships encountered during the current national health emergency and will also improve the functioning of virtual courts," it added.

It said that women advocates are deeply affected and saddened by the financial stress that the lawyer's community is facing since March this year due to the restricted functioning of courts.

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Free Press Journal