Coming straight to the crux of the matter, let me begin at the beginning itself by first and foremost pointing out that in what could be considered as a very great landmark step taken for the benefit of fresh law graduates who just step into the legal profession as a lawyer, the Puducherry government has announced a stipend of Rs 3,000 per month for junior advocates for a period of three years or till they start practicing independently, whichever is earlier. This shall certainly bring a big smile in the face of all those who stand to gain by this landmark step. It is a truly laudable step which has to be appreciated for giving young lawyers the stipend of Rs 3000 per month so that they don’t have to look to their parents for financial help and undoubtedly this shall boost their self-confidence to a big level!
It merits no reiteration that every government of every state must emulate what a Union Territory which is not even a state has chosen to do! This is a very small step that will certainly go a long way in attracting more and more bright students into the legal profession! There is no valid reason as to why all other State governments all over India should not emulate what Puducherry has done now for the benefit of junior advocates!
While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that an official communication which was sent by N Murugavel who is Undersecretary (Law) to the President of the Puducherry Bar Association said that the Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has allotted funds from the Chief Minister’s relief fund to cover the stipend. When such a small Union Territory can take such a landmark step by which so many junior advocates will benefit then why can’t bigger states who have much more money in their purse can’t allocate just Rs 3,000 per individual like Puducherry if not more so that more and more brighter talent is attracted to the legal profession and the junior lawyers don’t have to pinch their hands even to meet their daily expenses? It is high time and now bigger states too must follow the worthy footsteps of Puducherry and act in the supreme interests of junior advocates!
It must not be lost on all states that in a first Puducherry has taken a very bold and landmark decision of giving junior advocates Rs 3,000 per month stipend! They too must not themselves lag behind and waste no time to do what Puducherry has done in this regard! There is no harm in doing or rather imitating other if that thing which has been done is laudable and worthy enough to be followed by others!
It has to be conceded with grace that what the Chief Minister of a Union Territory – V Narayanasamy has done must be emulated by Chief Ministers of not just Union Territory or small states alone but also equally by bigger states as it is a very courageous decision which is bound to benefit many young and junior advocates who have just stepped into the legal profession and especially those who come from a weak financial background! I would rather go one step ahead and say that even those who come from good financial background would also feel more confident and happy if they get Rs 3000 per month stipend and this will imbue them further to work more harder to earn more and become independent in financial terms which is bound to groom their overall personality and make them more self-reliant! There can be no denying or disputing it!
For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the Puducherry government has also very rightly prescribed the eligibility criteria for getting the stipend. Those junior advocates who regularly attend free legal aid camps organized by the Legal Services Authority of the Union Territory of Puducherry and conduct the cases allotted to them by the legal aid committee and respective courts will be eligible to apply for the stipend. All other States must also emulate the most worthy example of Puducherry in this regard!
To put things in perspective, there are other terms and conditions also that have been laid down which include assisting the courts as a researcher, attending the chamber of senior advocates with whom they are attached, obtaining regular service certificates every three months from the President or Secretary of the Puducherry Bar Association and assisting the government pleader or public prosecutor or others at least! These are all valid and rational conditions which shall go a long way in making a fresher and junior advocate more experienced and more capable to deal with the complex court situations which arises from case to case! So they cannot be questioned nor can their utility be questioned!
It must be highlighted here that while speaking to reporters, the Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said there was a plea from the Puducherry State Bar Association that young lawyers entering the profession be paid monthly assistance. He said that, “Conceding the plea, the government has now evolved a scheme to provide Rs 3000 every month for young advocates. This assistance would be available to the new entrants for a period of three years to start with.” He also made it clear that, “The assistance is to enable the young lawyers to stabilize themselves in the profession.” He further added that initially the government would earmark from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, a sum of Rs 9 lakhs to the Welfare Fund of advocates here.
All said and done, what the Puducherry government has done under the able stewardship of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy is truly laudable. He has taken a very bold initiative which must be truly applauded by one and all! It must be emulated by every State Government and Union Territories all across the country.
Needless to say, junior advocates are also young officers of the court and to pay them so much that they don’t have to depend on others is imperative! It is unquestionable that this is what the Puducherry government led by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has done so rightly! Who can deny this?
It is a truly laudable step in the right direction to make them self-reliant especially in their initial years! This would make sure that young advocates are inspired to give in their very best to the profession right from day one without worrying much from the financial angle in the initial few years. They will be better trained as compared to those who don’t get anything and therefore lose interest in the legal profession of advocacy right from their formative years and thus get diverted into other professions! Who can deny this?
I have seen for myself that how not just lawyers in district courts and high courts but also in Supreme Court have shifted to other professions which includes teaching because there you immediately start getting good salary but in courts one has to wait for many years and still the earning is far below adequate! Who can deny this? I am ready to confront them!
Even those lawyers who work with senior and eminent lawyers are hardly paid much except for a very few all across India and this explains why even young lawyers with exceptionally brilliant background but not having any relation in the legal profession tend to immediately shift to other fields like teaching etc or opt to appear in the judicial services exam and become a Judge where they start getting a decent salary very early in their life! This is a very dangerous trend that can never be good for the long term interests of judiciary and lawyering and must be checked immediately if the best talent is to be retained in the legal profession of lawyering and for this to happen it is imperative that the other Chief Ministers should also try and emulate what V Narayanasamy has attempted recently even though on a small scale which is truly laudable and worth emulating by all states and Union Territories!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.