Chhattisgarh CJ’s ‘gift’ to out of work lawyer forced into hard labour

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Justice PR Ramachandran, Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court, has sent Rs 10,000 to a lawyer, who has been forced to go back to his village and weave baskets for a living, being out of work due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

A news article in The Times of India’s Raipur edition drew Justice Ramachandran’s attention to the plight of K Uthamakumaran, a 34-year-old lawyer practising in the Pattukotai Court in Thajavur since 2010. According to the news article Utthamakumaran is a first generation graduate in his family, hailing from the Malaikuruvar tribal community.

Due to the COVID 19 induced lockdown and suspension of normal functioning of courts, Utthamakumaran was left with no money at the end of May 2020. In order to feed his wife and his seven-year-old child and left with no other option, Utthamakumaran started weaving baskets.

While sending the money, Justice Ramachandran added a comment. He said: “The money was not a donation or contribution out of any sympathy, but a gift you deserve in recognition and appreciation of your concept/commitment to the dignity of labour. It is also to alert the lawyers’ fraternity at large, to be positive as every sunset will be followed by a sunrise.”

Around 2 lakh Malaikuruvars living across the state of Chhattisgarh made their living from weaving baskets or sharpening grinding stones.

– India Legal Bureau

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