Saturday, February 28, 2009

BCI allows Lawyers to lauch their own Websites

The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it allowed lawyers to launch their own websites giving basic information about themselves to prospective clients.

A Bench consisting of Justices B.N. Agrawal, S.H. Kapadia and D.K. Jain is hearing a petition filed by advocate V.B. Joshi challenging Rule 36 of the BCI, which prohibits lawyers from advertising their services in any manner.

Appearing for the BCI, senior counsel Krishnamani said it had passed a resolution to amend Rule 36 for allowing lawyers to furnish information on the website — their names, addresses, telephone numbers, email ID, enrolment number, date of enrolment, the name of the State Bar Council where they originally enrolled, the name of State Bar Council on whose roll they are now, the name of the Bar Association of which they are members, and professional and academic qualifications and areas of practice.

Justice Agrawal told counsel that it would be better if the BCI allowed lawyers to furnish information about their experience and areas of specialisation also. Mr. Krishnamani said the BCI would accept this suggestion. The suggestion that the BCI and the State Bar Councils furnish on their websites particulars of lawyers enrolled in their States would also be considered.

Earlier, the BCI and the Centre opposed the petition, saying the legal profession was not a trade. It was always treated as a noble profession. “The rule against soliciting is the foundation of the legal system in India and the Indian society is quite different from western countries including the U.S. as our society cherishes different ethos, social values and ethical norms.”

The petitioner termed Rule 36 archaic. Over half-a-million lawyers, arbitrators and legal experts in India could offer their services to the world with the help of advertising, he said.

The Bench adjourned the hearing. Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam is appearing for the Centre.

Source : The Hindu -