ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Regulating Service-oriented Professions

The Supreme Court wants a regulatory mechanism for advocates.

On 4 July, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court made observations that cover an important aspect of not merely the legal profession but all “service-oriented professions”—a regulatory mechanism and its effective implementation. Almost all such service-oriented professions which are largely in the public eye (including the media) often insist through their associations that self-regulation is the best way to deal with the “misbehaviour” of their members. Whether such self-regulatory measures truly work in not only disciplining members but also dealing with the grievances of their clients and consumers could be the subject of a larger debate. In Mahipal Singh Rana, Advocate v State of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court observed that there is “an urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession … being the most important component of the justice delivery system, the regulatory mechanism must continue to perform its significant role and should not be seen to be wanting in taking prompt action against any malpractice.” It referred to a long list of its rulings which have pronounced on various sections of the Advocates Act. What is noteworthy here is the emphasis on the regulatory mechanism’s role. Rana was accused of intimidating and threatening a senior civil judge in Etah in 2003. The court noted the “inaction” of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh despite directions in the impugned order of the Allahabad High Court 10 years ago.

At the time of writing, lawyers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are continuing their month-long strike despite the bar councils of both states being warned by the BCI of disciplinary action. These lawyers are protesting the amendments to rules under the Advocates Act, 1961 by the Madras High Court on 25 May which they say usurp the powers of the BCI and the state’s bar council. According to media reports, these amendments pertaining to Section 34 give the high court the powers to bar advocates from appearing before it if they are found indulging in specified acts of indiscipline. The observations of the apex court in the Mahipal Rana case thus take on significance in this instant because the issue here is whether the high courts should step into what is considered the domain of the bar councils.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 50.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 6.00

(Readers outside India)

Back to Top