Plea Filed In SC Seeking Exemption For All Advocates From Paying Monthly Rent For Their Rented Office Spaces During Lockdown Period [Read Petition]

first_imgTop StoriesPlea Filed In SC Seeking Exemption For All Advocates From Paying Monthly Rent For Their Rented Office Spaces During Lockdown Period [Read Petition] Akshita Saxena20 April 2020 11:27 PMShare This – xA Delhi based lawyer, Advocate Aljo K. Joseph has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Government to formulate an appropriate scheme to support advocates from paying their rent, exclusively for the professional premises. The plea points out that many lawyers pay “exorbitant rents” for their professional spaces for the sake of remaining close to Courts of law. However,…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginA Delhi based lawyer, Advocate Aljo K. Joseph has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Government to formulate an appropriate scheme to support advocates from paying their rent, exclusively for the professional premises. The plea points out that many lawyers pay “exorbitant rents” for their professional spaces for the sake of remaining close to Courts of law. However, since lockdown, many lawyers who depend on regular incomes are suffering due to loss of work and as such it has become difficult for them to pay the rent for their office premises. “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. Due to the close down, most/majority of the Advocates were able to work or earn any amount of money during all this locked period. It is pertinent to mention here that most of the Courts were also not functioning during this period. As it is stated above, unlike a common person, especially a professional he won’t be able to earn anything for his livelihood. Hence, in the circumstances it will not be proper in the part of any professional to pay the respective rent for the tenancy period when the lockdown was continuing,” the Petitioner avers. In this backdrop, the Petitioner has urged the court to direct the Central government to frame beneficial policies for the lawyers, as it has done for students and labourers. “The petitioner and the members of the bar are having no income in the past weeks due to the lockdown which has been declared without any consultation or deliberation with the professionals. The Government has declared many schemes for the students, migrant workers etc. but insofar as lawyers are concerned, nothing at all has come about,” the Petitioner submitted. He has contended that the inaction of the government in supporting lawyers has ultimately affected their right to livelihood protected under Article 19 of the Constitution, in so far as they are being forced to vacate their office premises. “As stated in part III of constitution of India right to life and practice any profession is a fundamental right And such a situation if it arose due to the pandemic and continuing lock down if the professionals are forced to vacate the professional premises and or pay the rent during this pandemic continuing lock down, it would also affect the constitutional guarantee under part III of the constitution of India,” the plea states. Inter alia, the Petitioner submitted that they cannot even invoke the clause of “non-payment due to a Force Majeure event” since they do not provide blanket waiver from payment of lease rentals on occurrence of every Force Majeure event. It was submitted that the plea of Force Majeure is available only if there is a damage or destruction of the property leading to its unavailability for use by the lessee, not being the case herein. “As a matter of right, invoke non-payment due to a Force Majeure event in the absence of a supporting clause and/or a specific rent waiver agreed under the contract is not possible. If the lease agreement does provide for stoppage of rent or suspension of all obligations during a Force Majeure period without any qualifications or riders, then the lessee should immediately exercise its right by issuing a letter to the lessor invoking Force Majeure event and intimating cessation of its obligation to pay lease rental during the period the Force Majeure event continues. In the present situation the lessee was not in a position to issue any letter to the lessor nor was in a position to pay the payment to the Landlord,” the Petitioner submitted. In these circumstances, the Petitioner has urged the court to direct the GoI to formulate 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. Additionally, he has prayed the court to declare that the lockdown period will be treated as ‘Force Majeure’ period, hence forth all the advocates are exempted from paying rent during that period. “A person who was especially carryout professional activity won’t be able to earn anything For his livelihood unless he works. As stated in part III of Constitution Of India right to life and practice any profession is a fundamental right And such a situation if it arose due to the pandemic and continuing lock down, if the professionals are forced to vacate the professional/office premises and or pay the rent during continuing lock down period, it violates constitutional guarantee under part III of the constitution of India,” the Petitioner has submitted. The petition is drawn and filed by Advocates Sachin Sharma. Pertinently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an advisory last month, restraining all landlord from forcing labours & student to vacate their premises in case they fail to pay rent during the lockdown period.Click here to download the Petition[Read Petition] Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img

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