KOCHI: There is help at hand hand, finally, for novice lawyers struggling to survive in their initial years of legal practice. For the first time in the history of judiciary, the Bar Council of India has decided to address the woes of new entrants in the Bar by providing `5,000 as stipend, per month, for a period of five years.
The resolution in favour of introducing the scheme was passed at a joint meeting of the members of the BCI, chairmen/vice chairmen of the state bar councils and presidents of High Court bar associations, held recently in New Delhi. The stipend would be for new entrants who join the Bar and for a period of at least five years.
“The stipend scheme can be linked with the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987,” the minutes of the meeting stated. The advocates who accept the stipend can assist poor litigants by providing legal aid, it said. The resolution also called for making suitable amendments in the LSA Act so that new entrants, state bar councils, Bar Associations get an opportunity to play major roles.
T H Abdul Azeez, chairman, Bar Council of Kerala, who attended the meeting, told ‘Express’ that the decision to pay the stipend to new entrants will draw more youth into this profession.
“Based on the resolution, the Bar Council of Kerala will send a proposal to the Chief Minister and the Law Minister seeking to provide financial assistance to implement it. While giving stipend, there would be an eligibility criteria taking into account the household income,” Azeez said.
Currently in Tamil Nadu the young advocates are being paid `2000 as stipend, he said.
One of the reasons why law graduates are reluctant to start practice is the lack of monetary benefits in the beginning of their career, said Sophy K J, an assistant professor with the National Law University, Delhi.