Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lawyers to practice in all courts across India irrespective of which bar council they are enrolled in

Central Government has finally decided to notify Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (the Act) which will as a matter of right allow lawyers to practice in any court, tribunal or any quasi judicial authority all over India. This will allow lawyers to practice in all courts across India irrespective of which bar council they are enrolled in or without the need or condition to transfer the bar licence to the state where they want to practice in.

Section 30 of the Advocates Act provides: “Right of advocates to practice: Subject to the provisions of this Act, every advocate shall be entitled as of right to practise throughout the territories to which this Act extends; in all courts including the Supreme Court; before any tribunal or person legally authorised to take evidence; and before any other authority or person before whom such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practice”.

Advocates for the last so many years have been claiming the right to practice in all courts as of right and have been agitating for the enforcement of Section 30 of the Act in this behalf. Almost 50 years have passed since enactment of the Act, the provision has not been brought into force.

Earlier, the Supreme Court in Aeltemesh Rein vs. Union of India and others [AIR 1988 SC 1768] had issued a writ of mandamus to the Central Government to consider, within six months, whether Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961 should be brought into force or not. The Court, however, held that it was the discretion of the Central Government to bring this section in force by issuing a notification in this behalf.

In spite of the direction of the Supreme Court, the section has not been brought in force till date and hence advocates cannot practice as of right.

Recently, a delegation of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTNP) headed by Prabhakaran Vice-Chairman of BCTNP had met the Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily and impressed on him the need for notifying Section 30 of the Act to allow advocates to practice in all fora. Moily assured them that the government had already taken a decision in this regard and the notification was to be issued shortly, according to media reports.

According to Hindu, Veerappa Moily informed that the long-pending demands of the lawyers had been conceded, and he had passed appropriate orders for notifying this Section early next week.

Moily said, “I traced the file relating to this provision. For some reasons this Section remained in the Statute without being notified. I decided to notify this Section and signed necessary orders. The notification is expected to be issued either on June 7 or 8”.

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