The Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to MSME Ministry, Finance Ministry, Bar Council of India and the RBI on a plea seeking inclusion of advocates within the definition of professionals under the MSME Act for the purpose of assessing welfare schemes.
According to the plea, the MSME Ministry does not consider advocates as eligible professionals for accessing the progressive schemes of the Government of India. It highlighted that there is a prejudiced eligibility criteria of having GSTN, Business PAN, TAN as mandatory requirement to be eligible to access the development schemes of the Government of India is against the welfare of the advocates.
Moreover, it stated that the government has not introduced any development schemes for the welfare of the advocates such as training platform or access to the collateral free loans for purchase of equipment such as laptops, printer and scanner etc. for accessing the e-Courts. “Profession of advocates hold imminent position under the ageis of Article 22 Constitution of India which is the fundamental rights of every citizen to consult only the advocate. However, lack of infrastructure and equipment with the advocates is leading to the serious pendency issues with the honorable courts.”
It urged for the inclusion of advocates within the MSME Act for accessing the welfare schemes of the government and urged for the Department of Financial Services, under the Finance Ministry, to develop banking products and schemes in consultation with the Bar Council of India for the advocates’ welfare.
Furthermore, the plea believes that the RBI should be directed to issue guidelines to banks to extend collateral free loans, credit facilities and schemes to advocates, under the ageis of Section 20 of MSME Act, in consultation with the Bar Council of India. In addition, a direction is sought upon the Bar Council of India to initiate digital adoption training programs for the advocates for embracing digital technology for the administration of justice.
This matter would now be heard on October 12.