Picture Credit: ANI
On Thursday, the Delhi High Court under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, issued a notification to the Centre and others on a plea challenging the criteria to access development and promotional schemes and to include advocates for accessing the welfare schemes under the above-mentioned act.
Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh have asked the Union of India, Reserve Bank of India and the Bar Council of India to respond to the petition. The court has listed the matter for further hearing on October 12. The court heard petitions filed by law student and social worker Abhijit Mishra, and advocate Payal Bahl.
The petitioner submitted that the Indian Government's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has developed highly biased, restrictive and arbitrary eligibility criteria towards the profession of advocates.
Abhijit Mishra and Payal Bahl also stated that the Ministry of MSME, in its response under the Right to Information Act (RTI), has stated that it does not even consider the Advocates as eligible professionals for accessing the progressive schemes of the Government of India.
The petitioner submitted that biased eligibility criteria for having GSTN, Business PAN, TAN as requirements to be able to access the development schemes of the Government of India violates the benefits of the Advocates.
Abhijit Mishra and Payal Bahl further lamented that the Centre has not introduced any development schemes such as training platform or access to collateral-free loans for the purchase of equipment such as laptops, printers and scanners etc. for accessing the E-Courts.
The petitioner also submitted in its vision document for "Digital Courts Vision & Roadmap Phase III of the eCourts Project" that the Honourable Apex Court of India has duly acknowledged its ventures in the field of technology and human resource. The petitioner meanwhile urged to amend the arbitrary, biased and restrictive criteria of defining the term "Professional" to include lawyers for obtaining the welfare schemes of the Government of India under the MSME Development Act, 2006.
The petitioner sought the direction of the Department of Financial Services to develop banking products and schemes for the welfare of the Advocates, in consultation with the Bar Council of India.
Abhijit Mishra and Payal Bahl also sought to direct the Reserve Bank of India to issue guidelines, instructions or notification to the banks regarding collateral-free loans, credit facilities and schemes under Section 20 of the MSME Development Act, 2006 in consultation with the Bar Council of India for the welfare of the Advocates.
The petitioner also urged the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to develop professional development schemes for the welfare of the Advocates. A plea was also submitted to direct the Bar Council of India to initiate digital adoption training programs for the Advocates.
Abhijit Mishra and Payal Bahl also petitioned the Bar Council of India to promote online training programs and a code of conduct for the advocates and litigants for online or virtual hearings for court proceedings.
(With Inputs from ANI)
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