In wake of the COVID 19, the Bar Council of Gujarat had passed a new resolution that permits needy advocates to take up alternative jobs or do side business. The resolution is passed as the financial condition of most of the lawyers in the country had come down due to the pandemic. Even some lawyer does not get any monthly income as they can’t go to court and also the number of court cases had come down. COVID 19 had become a major tragedy for the lawyers in India. Thus this new resolution will be a relief for those lawyers who face difficulty to meet their daily needs.
The resolution of Bar Council of Gujarat states that” In a meeting conducted on Sunday, the financial situation for more than 75,000 lawyers during the last three months has been difficult and many of them are not able to bear their family responsibilities. So it has been resolved that the needy lawyers having Sanad, keeping the dignity of the profession in mind may take up any other job/business for maintaining financial stability and bearing their family responsibilities. Such Lawyers will be exempted from Section 35 of the Advocates Act till Dec 31, 2020.”
The Bar Council of India had certain guidelines for the lawyer's employment restriction. This new resolution is against some of these rules. The rule 47 to 52 of Section VII deals with the employment restriction of an advocate;
“Rule 47. An advocate shall not personally engage in any business; but he may be a sleeping partner in a firm doing business provided that in the opinion of the appropriate State Bar Council, the nature of the business is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession.
Rule 48. An advocate may be Director or Chairman of the Board of Directors of a Company with or without any ordinarily sitting fee, provided none of his duties are of an executive character. An advocate shall not be a Managing Director or a Secretary of any Company.
Rule 49. An advocate shall not be a full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practise, and shall, on taking up any such employment, intimate the fact to the Bar Council on whose roll his name appears and shall thereupon cease to practise as an advocate so long as he continues in such employment.
Rule 50. An advocate who has inherited, or succeeded by survivorship to a family business may continue it, but may not personally participate in the management thereof. He may continue to hold a share with others in any business which has decended to him by survivorship or inheritance or by will, provided he does not personally participate in the management thereof.
Rule 51. An advocate may review Parliamentary Bills for a remuneration, edit legal text books at a salary, do press-vetting for newspapers, coach pupils for legal examination, set and examine question papers; and subject to the rules against advertising and full-time employment, engage in broadcasting, journalism, lecturing and teaching subjects, both legal and non-legal.
Rule 52. Nothing in these rules shall prevent an advocate from accepting after obtaining the consent of the State Bar Council, part-time employment provided that in the opinion of the State Bar Council, the nature of the employment does not conflict with his professional work and is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession. This rule shall be subject to such directives if any as may be issued by the Bar Council India from time to time.”
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