The petition has been filed through Advocate Sachin Sharma and drawn by Advocates Sachin Sharma and Sriram Parakkat urging the Supreme Court for directions to exempt advocates from from paying rent for their professional premises during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The petitioner prayed that Court should treat lockdown as “Force Majeure” period and shall exempt the lawyers from paying the rent during lockdown.
The petition filed by Advocate Aljo K Joseph highlighted that due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the closure of courts, lawyers have been unable to practice their profession and earn the livelihood. He further stated:
“All the professionals except a privileged few in this country, especially lawyers earn their livelihood on a day-to-day basis and are left hardly with any savings. Most of the advocate office/ professional office are there in city or premises close to the Court.”
The petitioner also pointed out that government has not paid much attention to the lawyers facing hardships in this lockdown. The Bar Council of Delhi had also written to the Delhi High Court, requesting for a waiver of rent for premises being used for professional purposes. However, no action has been taken on the request, it is stated.
The petitioner has prayed for the following as per the request in his petition:
- The Government should be directed to formulate an appropriate scheme to support the Advocates and other professionals of the country for paying their rent exclusively for the professional premises which is used for practice or office purpose; and
- A direction may be issued that the national lockdown period will be treated as ‘Force Majeure’ period henceforth, and that all advocates are exempted from paying rent during this period; and
- A direction may be issued that lawyers are exempted from making monthly rental payments for the premises leased out for professional purpose or office purpose during the lockdown.