Regulatory Mechanism for Legal profession: Law Commission invites suggestions from Bar Councils and Associations

Regulatory Mechanism for Legal profession: Law Commission invites suggestions from Bar Councils and Associations

Supreme Court of India in Mahipal Singh Rana vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, had observed that there is an urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession. Three Judge Bench comprising of Justices Anil R. Dave, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel had also requested the Law commission and Government of India to take appropriate steps in this regard. In view of above the Law Commission of India had undertaken a study and requested the Bar Council of India and all State Bar Councils, Bar Association of the Supreme Court and Advocates on Records Association of Supreme Court, Advocates Associations’ (in whatever nomenclature they exist)  in the High Courts and their respective Benches  to send their comments to at lci-dla@nic.in, within 30 days.

The Supreme Court made the above observations while disposing of an appeal against Allahabad High Court order convicting an Advocate finding him guilty of Criminal Contempt for intimidating and threatening a Civil Judge. The Apex Court has upheld the conviction and the direction by the High Court that the advocate shall not be permitted to appear in courts in District Etah until he purges himself of contempt. The Court also held that under Section 24A of the Advocates Act, the enrolment of the contemnor Advocate will stand suspended for two years. The Court also said that, as a disciplinary measure for proved misconduct, the licence of the contemnor will remain suspended for further five years. The Court has however set aside the imprisonment imposed on the Advocate. The Court also held that Section 24A of the Advocates Act which debars a convicted person from being enrolled applies to an advocate on the rolls of the Bar Council for a period of two years, if convicted for contempt.

The Court further observed :

“Legal profession being the most important component of justice delivery system, it must continue to perform its significant role and regulatory mechanism and should not be seen to be wanting in taking prompt action against any malpractice. We have noticed the inaction of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Bar Council of India in spite of direction in the impugned order of the High Court and in spite of notice to the Bar Council of India by this Court. We have also noticed the failure of all concerned to advert to the observations made by the Gujarat High Court 33 years ago. Thus there appears to be urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession and other incidental issues, in consultation with all concerned.”