Proposed Legal Practitioners Act unnecessary: Karnataka Bar Council

"The proposed Draft Bill is totally unnecessary as every one of the subject matters sought to be covered by the Draft Bill actually is the subject matter for which Advocates Act, 1961, has been enacted and Bar Council at the State level and Bar Council of India have been established," State Bar Council President Jayakumar S Patil told reporters here.

This, along with creation of a Legal Services Board as a super regulatory body would interfere with independence of the Bar, he said. Under the proposed Act, legal professional is defined to include anybody dealing with legal issues though they are not enrolled as advocates, which is a "dangerous trend", he said.

The draft legislation was intended to cover persons coming from abroad practicing legal profession. Other clauses clearly indicate this is not a legislation proposed to control and regulate working of legal professionals coming from other countries, Patil said.

The Legal Services Board as contemplated is supposed to be constituted by appointment of Chairman and Members in consultation with Chief Justice of India and Chairman of Bar Council of India "which definitely gives an indication that persons to be considered for appointment are retired judges."

The Bar, Patil said, strongly feels any control of the profession should be by professionals themselves and bringing in Judicial Officers, whether serving or retired, "is totally against the concept of independence of Bar".

So if Legal Services Board is to be constituted, persons in the Board should only be from among advocates, Patil said. He opposed the concept of appointment of Ombudsman i.e. a retired High Court Judge or retired Judicial Officers, describing it as "anathema to independence of the Bar".

Instead of creating another top heavy body, it is better that existing structure under the Advocates Act be reinforced, if necessary through appropriate amendments, to provide infrastructure as well as funds, he said.

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