April 6, 2021, 10:15 PM

Advocate Shyam Dewani

Advocate Shyam Dewani 

Renowned Advocate Shyam Dewani on April 6 wrote to the Maharashtra government asking them to amend the ‘Break the Chain’ order dated April 5, which asks lawyers and their staff to get vaccinated or carry an RT-PCR report in order to work during the lockdown imposed by government to contain the spread of COVID-19. Adv Dewani has said that the order is impractical as per the government guidelines only people above 45 can get vaccinated, which means lawyers under 45 won’t be able to work. Also, getting an RT-PCR test every 15 days and saying that lawyers should only work between 7 am and 8 pm is not practical.

In his letter to the government, Advocate Shyam Dewani wrote:

- At the outset, we express our heartfelt gratitude and sincere appreciation for accepting our request and acting on our representation dated April 5 put forth to your good self, by appropriately modifying ‘Break the chain’ circular dated April 4, and including the offices of advocates also in the private offices, so as to enable lawyers to perform their professional duties and attend their office and courts in view of the observation passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.3 of 2020. In accordance of our request to allow lawyers to open their offices and perform their professional duties, your good self has been considerate enough to issue a revised circular dated April 5 with immediate effect allowing advocates offices to function on all week days between 7 am to 8 pm.

- That, though we welcome the said modification granted by this Hon’ble Authority, nonetheless, we feel that the conditions laid down in clause/point 2 of the said circular are impractical on the face of it. It is well within the knowledge of your good self that presently people above the aged above 45 years only are entitled to get vaccination for Covid19 as per the Government directions issued from time to time. It is an incontrovertible fact that persons of aged group 18 years and above may be working in the advocates office, in capacity of office staff, peons, clerks, junior advocates, typist, stenographer, administrative staff, etc., and therefore it is absolutely illogical to put condition of getting all the office personnel vaccinated, in as much as, on such grounds persons below 45 years cannot be deprive of working, as Government of India directives about vaccination facility us available only for the persons aged 45 years and above.

- That, it is expected either the Government should permit providing vaccination to all people in the State or the Hon’ble authority deletes/modifies the said condition of getting entire staff vaccinated for Covid19. The said condition cannot be fulfilled due to the unavailability of vaccination facility for persons below the age of 45. At the same time there cannot be a discrimination to allow only person above the age 45 to work as that is highly unreasonable and unrealistic. Needless to say, the said condition needs to be deleted with immediate effect.

- That, apart from the said condition, one more condition mentioned in point no.2 of the said circular is unrealistic. The said condition states that all personnel should carry negative RTPCR corona result certificate valid up to 15 days with effect from April 10, 2021, is undoubtedly unviable. We completely understand and agree that we all are sailing though the second wave of Coivd19 which has up surged with extreme intensification in number of covid19 cases presently in the State of Maharashtra, however, carrying a negative certificate and getting tested every 15 days at the government hospitals will add burden on the Government which is already is in a state of encumbrance due to the proliferation in number of Covid19 cases. At the same time, this may deprive the infected person in need of Covid19 test due to unnecessary pressure on the government hospital by compelling all personals to get tested every 15 days. If one considers the option of private lab testing in that case the advocates office staff will be financially burned to shell out a handsome amount of approximately Rs. 1000/- twice a month which is extremely oppressive for a common man. Needless to say that such conditions are arbitrary and unreasonable.

- Further restricting the functioning of the office of advocates, which needless to state are rendering essential services, to 7 am to 8 pm only on weekdays, in our respectful submissions is absolutely impractical and illogical considering the nature of services which are required to be rendered by advocates. By putting such conditions the Honourable Authority is trying to restrict ‘Access to Justice’, which is absolutely impermissible and improper.

Also read : ‘Break the chain’ order by Maharashtra govt. is death warrant for traders: Dipen Agrawal 

- That, the advocates being educated persons themselves are aware of importance of following the SOP issued by the Government from time to time, and hence all such offices are already following the temperature check-up, oxygen level check, wearing masks, sanitization, and social distancing norms, etc. It is highly pertinent to mention that the said both conditions are not reasonable to be complied with and therefore, we request this Hon’ble authority to delete/modify the said conditions and lay down conditions of following the other norms of SOP as stated herein.

- Therefore, considering the nature of working of lawyers, practicalities and norms regarding vaccination available only for persons above the age of 45 years brought to your kind notice, I urge your Hon’ble Authority to take appropriate steps and modify/clarify the above order dated 04/05-04.2021 at the earliest. A nearly decision in this regard will be highly appreciated so as to enable us to take appropriate legal steps, if so required. 

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