Delhi HC notice to Centre on plea challenging criteria to access MSME's promotional schemes

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New Delhi [India], August 26 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to Centre and others on a petition challenging the criteria to access the development and promotional schemes under the aegis of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 and to include advocates for accessing the welfare schemes under the MSME Act, 2006.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the Union of India Reserve Bank of India and Bar Council of India to file reply on the petition. The court has listed the matter for further hearing on October 12.

The court was hearing a petition filed by law student and social worker Abhijit Mishra and advocate Payal Bahl.

The petitioner submitted that the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India has developed highly arbitrary eligibility criteria which are highly biased and restrictive towards the profession of advocates.

The petitioner submitted that the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India in its response under the Right to Information Act 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 prejudiced eligibility criteria of having GSTN, Business PAN, TAN as mandatory requirements in order to be eligible to access the development schemes of the Government of India is against the welfare of the Advocates.

The petitioner further submitted that the government of India has not introduced any development schemes for the welfare of the Advocates 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 submitted that the Honourable Supreme Court of India in its vision document for "Digital Courts Vision & Roadmap Phase III of the eCourts Project" has duly recognized that the investment into technology and human resource.

The petitioner has urged to amend the arbitrary, biased and restrictive criteria of defining the "Professional" in order to include the Profession of Advocates for accessing the welfare schemes of the Government of India under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.

The petitioner has sought to direct the respondent Department of Financial Services to develop banking products and schemes in consultation with the Bar Council of India for the welfare of the Advocates.

The petitioner has also sought to direct the Reserve Bank of India to issue guidelines or instructions or notification to the banks to collateral-free loans, credit facilities and schemes under the aegis of Section 20 of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 in consultation with Bar Council of India for the welfare of the Advocates.

The petitioner has also sought to direct the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India to develop professional development schemes in consultation with the Bar Council of India for the welfare of the Advocates.

The petitioner also sought to direct the Bar Council of India to initiate digital adoption training programs for the Advocates for embracing digital technology for the administration of justice.

The petitioner also sought the Bar Council of India to develop online training programs, code of conduct for the advocates and litigants for online/virtual hearings before the Courts. (ANI)

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