The Bar Council of India has reportedly rejected the 266th report of the Law Commission of India, which had suggested changes in the Advocates Act, 1961, terming it “draconian, anti-lawyer and undemocratic”.
In a press release on Sunday, BCI Secretary Srimanto Sen said that the BCI had received a letter from the Union Law Ministry seeking its recommendations on the report. The BCI had then convened a joint meeting with all the High Court Bar Associations of the country, the coordination Committee of Bar Associations of Delhi and other Bar Associations on July 8. Another joint meeting with representatives of all the State Bar Councils was convened on July 9. Both these meetings had led to a unanimous decision to reject the report in toto. The Associations have also resolved to request the Government to reject the report, and to formulate its own recommendations on the amendments to the Act.
The BCI has been up in arms against the report titled ‘The Advocates Act, 1961 (Regulation of Legal Profession)’ had emphasized on the need for reviewing Regulatory Mechanism and Regulatory bodies etc., and recommended comprehensive amendments in the Advocates Act. The Commission had also submitted a draft of Advocate (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The LCI report had made reference to the verdict in the case of Mahipal Singh Rana v. State of Uttar Pradesh, wherein the Apex Court had observed that there is an urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession. The three Judge Bench comprising Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had then requested the Law Commission and the Centre to take appropriate steps in this regard.
The BCI’s decision comes a day after the Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar favored entry of foreign lawyers and law firms, saying the opportunity should never be missed. Speaking at the inauguration of the All India Seminar of the International Law Association at New Delhi, the CJI had said, “… with the advent of globalization, the legal profession in India has undergone a major shift in past two decades. Economic globalization has given an opportunity of constant interaction with foreign lawyers and law firms and an international clientele. As a result there has been transfer of knowledge, system and practice to Indian law firms so as to undertake much larger role in cross-border transactions.”