New Delhi, Apr 24 (ILNS) The Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Advocates Act, 1961 through an online function, conducted on Zoom.
Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman was the Chief Guest at the event, which saw participation from eminent legal dignitaries, including President of Supreme Court Bar Association Vikas Singh, Vice President of SILF Dr Manoj Kumar and President of Bar Association of India Prashant Kumar, Chairman of Bar Council of India Manan Kumar Mishra, renowned Jurists, law schools and academicians and eminent citizens.
Through this event Dr Lalit Bhasin, President of Bar Association, laid down some pivotal agendas that need to be heard. The agendas include:-
- Improving standards of Legal Education
- Ensuring adherence to Rules of Conduct and Etiquette for Lawyers
- Strict Prohibition against Practice of Law by Non-Lawyers
- Regulatory framework, if foreign firms are allowed
- Recognition of General Counsel/In House Counsel by Bar Council Of India
Dr Bhasin said, “The Supreme Court has laid down in Balaji’s case that only Indian citizens can practice law in India, but we in India as a legal professional, are not opposed to the entry of foreign lawyers”.
He further said that legal department of India is well-equipped with both resources and competence. “We can face anyone from our counterpart,” he added.
Dr Bhasin further talked about the recognition of the General Counsel or In House Counsel by the Bar Council Of India, as they were the ones, who actually did the spade work whenever any litigation, arbitration or advisory work was concerned.
Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman started his speech by saying that the 60th anniversary of Advocate Act, 1961 occurs on a “most unpropitious day, with the darkest of clouds of Covid-19 hoarding over us”.
Mr Nariman, in his inimitable style, gave valuable insights on the condition of legal profession in India.
He quoted words of the CJ of the US “The entire legal profession lawyers, judges, law teachers has become so mesmerised with this stimulation of courtroom contest that we tend to forget that we ought to be healers of conflicts”.
Mr. Nariman read a passage from the book The Slumbering Sentinels by CG Weeramantry, which said, “Science and technology have worked a lot into instruments of power, control and manipulation but lawyers are out of their depths, their concept is out of touch, there techniques are ineffectual. Sociologists, philosophers, economists, colleges, even politicians have sensed some of the danger and prepared for them, but lawyers have been slow to do so. They have been hampered by outdated concepts and methods.”
Concluding his speech, Mr Nariman said “If the legal profession in India wants to survive, we must all awaken to the realisation that those who need our help, must not find us wanting.”
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh talked about how the act came into force through Parliament. He said, India’s post-Independence period required a law, which created distinction between advocates, pleaders, wakeels, mukhtars and revenue agents. A committee was set up by the government. Justice SR Das, former Judge of Supreme Court, along with MC Setalvad, the then Attorney General of India, Dr Bakshi Tek Chand, VKT Chari, among others, were members of the committee.
Simultaneously the law commission had been provided the task in the preparation of the report on the judicial administration. Both the law commission and the committee jointly provided the recommendation and there in a comprehensive bill was presented in Parliament, which resulted in the formulation of the Advocate Act 1961.
At the end of the event, Dr Manoj Kumar made a statement towards the law school. The curriculum should have more dedicated space in law school; it should provide exposure to students in relative technology, which they will need to use when they come into practice of law.
He also stated that proper infrastructure needs to be created, which needs a statutory backing and institution backing from the Bar Council, as well as the government. ILNS/AKS/RJ