Maharashtra advocates allowing
lawyers to travel in local trains
Pic by Bhushan Koyande

The Maharashtra government on Monday told the Bombay High Court that it was in favour of allowing all lawyers to use the suburban local trains services for their commute to courts, offices, and back home. The state, however, said a final decision on this would be taken by end of this week as it has a meeting with the representatives of the Bar Council of Maharashtra.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, however, reiterated that the state must ensure that the train services correspond to the lifting of lockdown.

The bench was dealing with a clutch of petitions filed by various associations of advocates seeking permission to use the local train services, which are presently open only for "essential service" workers.

On Monday, when the matter was called up for hearing, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state, told the judges that the government has decided to allow all lawyers to use local train services.

"But this would be only for their professional purposes. We don't want lawyers to misuse the service," AG told the judges.

"However, a final call would be taken probably by this weekend as we have a meeting with the state's bar council, wherein we would be dealing with their demands," the AG added.

Further, Kumbhakoni told the judges that the state has also decided to allow women, from across the fields to use the train services during "non-peak" hours. The AG also submitted that the state has already forwarded this proposal to the railway authorities.

The AG also apprised the bench of the fact that the train services are going to increase as per the court's suggestion, made on an earlier hearing.

Having heard the submissions, CJ Datta pointed out that numerous sectors have now been opened by the state authorities after months of lockdown. "Why don't you consider allowing employees of other sectors too? There are gyms being opened up, salons, etc are permitted to operate. Then why not allow them too?" the chief justice asked.

The bench has sought the state's response on its query and has posted the matter for further hearing on a later date.

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