The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Centre in response to the PIL filed for including advocates as 'professionals' for accessing the various welfare schemes offered under the MSME Act, 2006.

The division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has issued the notice to the Ministry of Finance, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Ministry, Bar Council of India, and the Reserve Bank of India

Abhijit Mishra has filed the PIL in the Court concerning the issue and has contended that MSME Ministry does not consider advocates eligible professionals for availing the benefits of the welfare schemes provided under the MSME Act.

Further, the petitioner argued that under the MSME Act the eligibility criteria of having a Goods and Service Tax Identification Number (GSTIN), business PAN or Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN) as a mandatory requirement to access the development, schemes are against the welfare of the advocates.

Mishra contended that owing to the services provided by the advocates to their clients, they can be considered under the definition of enterprise as provided under the MSME Act.

It was also submitted that the Government of India has not passed any schemes for the benefit of the advocates highlighting the lack of provisions for purchasing equipment like laptops, printers, etc for accessing virtual courts.

The petition further elaborated that RBI should provide collateral-free loans, credit facilities, and schemes to Advocates as per Section 20 of the MSME Act in consultation with the Bar Council of India.

The matter is listed for hearing on October 12.

With inputs from PTI