An appeal was made to the Prime Minister in 2020 seeking incentives for lawyers who had been facing financial crisis due to Coronavirus pandemic. Later a grant of Tk 200 million was given from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund last February. Millionaire lawyers are also getting this relief money along with the poor and affected lawyers as the authorities have taken the decision to distribute the money to all the lawyers equally.
Lawyer Md Muklesur Rahman Badal, one of the members of the Finance Committee of the Bangladesh Bar Council, said, “We have allocated the money for the lawyers affected by Coronavirus situation. The amount of money has been allocated in proportion to the number of lawyers in the concerned bar association. However, the lawyers who are in good financial condition may not take this money. In that case the respective bar leaders will redistribute it.”
Law Minister Anisul Huq on behalf of the Prime Minister handed over the cheque of Tk 200 million to the leaders of the Bangladesh Bar Council, a licensing and regularity body for all advocates of Bangladesh, in February last. On the occasion, Law Minister said that the way in which the incentive money can be used will be decided by the elected representatives of the Bar Council.
Later the leaders of the Bar Council took a decision to distribute the money to its all Advocates equally. As per the decision, a total of 63,567 lawyers across the country are getting the money. Each lawyer will get Tk 3,099 from the amount of Tk 197 million. Apart from this, Tk 3.0 million have been allocated in favour of an organisation named ‘Women Lawyers Welfare Fund’.
However, questions was raised over the distribution process of this money. Those who are millionaires and multi-millionaires are also getting this relief money whereas the fund was given for the help of the lawyers affected by Coronavirus situation.
Most of the cheques have already been distributed to the concerned bar association leaders. Dhaka Bar Association has received a total of Tk 67 million for its 21,625 members. Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has received a total of Tk 3.53 million for its 1,140 members out of around 10,000 members.
The remaining members of the Supreme Court Bar Association who are members of different District Bars may get their money through those Bars, said SCBA Secretary Advocate Abdun Nur Dulal.
The lawyers’ leader said, “I received a cheque for 1,140 members. But it is not clear who these 1,140 members are. I have given a reminder notice to Bar Council authorities to clear the matter.”
“The amount is not a factor. It’s a token gift from the Prime Minister,” added the SCBA Secretary. Meanwhile, some lawyers of the Supreme Court told that they are not aware of the ‘token gift’.