Madras HC sets Rs 20,000 minimum monthly pay for junior lawyers in major TN cities

The minimum pay in the rest of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has been fixed at Rs 15,000.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court(File photo| EPS)

CHENNAI: In a bid to alleviate the struggles of poorly paid junior lawyers, the Madras High Court has fixed a minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 20,000 for those practising in major cities and Rs 15,000 in the rest of the state. The court directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTNP) to issue guidelines in this regard.

The minimum remuneration was fixed by a division bench of Justices SM Subramaniam and C Kumarappan while hearing a petition regarding the Advocates Welfare Fund.

“Any advocate/senior advocate employing the services of junior advocates shall pay a minimum stipend of Rs 20,000 per month for advocates practising in the major cities of Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. The minimum amount is derived taking into consideration the cost of living and expenditure costs prevalent as of today,” the bench said in the order passed on Wednesday.

The minimum pay in the rest of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has been fixed at Rs 15,000.

The bench further stressed that the remuneration fixed by the court shall be paid to all the junior lawyers irrespective of their gender. “Though this systemic issue of gender pay gap is beginning to gain attention, this issue is rarely spoken about,” it said.

Pointing out that young lawyers, especially from the marginalised sections of society, hold immense potential, the bench said providing them an adequate monthly stipend in return for their services will serve as a ‘catalyst for their development.’

The orders were passed on a petition filed by Farida Begum, an advocate of Puducherry, seeking a direction to the authorities concerned to pay from the Advocates Welfare Fund as per the rules. The bench directed the BCTNP to issue necessary circulars, instructions or guidelines within four weeks regarding payment of the minimum remuneration.

It also ordered BCTN and the Puducherry government and the recognised bar associations of Puducherry and Karaikkal to coordinate and finalise a proposal to enhance the welfare fund, which is intended to support the lawyers in need of help.

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