If we consider the past few months of 2019, the entire world was busy celebrating the usual chores of life, unaware of the natural calamity which was taking a colossal form slowly and steadily. The breakdown of Covid-19 has changed the normal way of life, not only in India but worldwide. It has crumbled the normal course of life to the level that many are facing survival crisis in various parts of the world. How would the world look like in aftermath of covid-19 is a debatable question. This pandemic has caused immense, incomprehensible damages to probably all the sectors of working. And, certainly, these sudden changes will open up more challenges than opportunities for the people. We can expect a paradigm shift in the legal area of India. In the days to come, courts will be all burdened by large number of cases pertaining to manpower rationalization, implementation delays of projects, failure of commercial activities, breakdown of projects, and many more.
Moving forward, the firms should be well equipped to sustain in the tough times. The senior councils should be lenient in not charging high fees from clients and maybe the hearings which are non-effective in nature can be left uncharged. For individual lawyers, there might be the times when rising amount of work would not bear the revenue they might be expecting. It is the time when they should be willing to balance their interests with that of other stakeholders.
Another remedy to fight the increasing work load can be shift to the Alternative Dispute Settlement. Arbitration, conciliation and mediation can entertain large number of cases related to employment, tenancy, interest chargeable, etc. Special courts can also be set up to handle cases arising because of corona virus outbreak, and related ones. And this will lead to increased appointment of lawyers for Arbitration and Assistants which in turn will create employment options in legal sector. This step will not only reduce the pendency of cases but will facilitate quicker and easier decision making.
In addition to this, it is the time when lawyers, be it at district level or state level, need to be technologically savvy. They need to adapt to usage of online applications like- zoom, Skype, internet services, software, laptops, etc.
Despite the fact that this pandemic has hampered all walks of life, the legal sector is expected to have an influx in the number of cases that would result in increased litigation. However, as already mentioned, expected increase might not be proportional to the revenue generation expected by the lawyers.
It is also the time when firms and councils should come forward to provide job opportunities to young lawyers. We should not forget that large chunk of lawyers pass out each year and many are the daily bread earners and for them it is required to work continuously to sustain living. It is important to formulate welfare policies so that they can maintain themselves in the tough times. The pandemic has affected morale, and up to certain level the working capacity of individuals. So to help them in overcoming this crisis, it is required that the legal sector should join hands to rejuvenate the budding lawyers.
Important of all, corona virus necessitates revisiting the existing laws in India. The amendment to various laws will make them adapt to the changing legal environment of today. The archaic version of legislation is not able to control the present crisis because framers of the laws were unaware of the circumstances populace might witness today. Indian Contract Act, Indian Epidemics Act, Intellectual Property Rights, Indian Labour Laws, and Indian Disaster Management Act, etc, are the legislations that require certain changes to meet the needed legal and economic framework. The changed and updated legislations will serve as a blessing in disguise in not only curbing the wrong done to the people but also in providing speedy and better redressal.
Surely, covid-19 will change the lifestyle of people for always. This lockdown and isolation has frightened us to the level that getting back to normal is not an option. It is the time when we have learnt to shrink our pool of luxuries to that of necessities. Despite confusion, cynicism and obstructionist politics around the objective of achieving the lucrative goals, a breakthrough is not impossible. Having said all this, it is quite clear that the legal sector of India is going to witness some prime and fundamental changes. The corona virus has brought with it the opportunity to fight the tough and come out triumphant. It is the onus of each one of us to stand rigid and attempt to overcome the harm which has been caused to each one of us in varied ways. The beauty of a coordinated and systematic effort is that each and every person can contribute to make a long term impact on the picturesque society. We just need to maintain the momentum while pushing ourselves to achieve the goals, so that we attain the optimum level of efficiency in making the community more self-reliant and robust.