Mechanism for regulating the legal profession need to be reviewed on urgent basis

Supreme Court: Showing concern over the urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession and other incidental issues, the Court asked the Law Commission of India to go into all relevant aspects in consultation with all concerned at an early date and the Government of India to take further appropriate steps in the light of report of the Law Commission within six months thereafter.

The 3-judge bench of A.R. Dave, Kurian Joseph and A.K. Goel, JJ. took note of the provision under Section 24A which debars a convicted person from being enrolled applies to an advocate on the rolls of the Bar Council for a period of two years and said that a person convicted of even a most heinous offence is eligible to be enrolled as an advocate after expiry of two years from expiry of his sentence.

The Court was hearing the appeal in a decade old matter where the appellant was held guilty by the Allahabad High Court of Criminal Contempt for intimidating and threatening a Civil Judge and was directed not to enter the court premises. The Court had issued notice to the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh to initiate appropriate proceedings against the appellant for professional misconduct, however, no action has been taken by the Bar Council. In view of such failure of the statutory obligation of the Bar Council of the State of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Bar Council of India, the Court held that suo moto action can be taken under the Advocates Act in view of proved misconduct calling for disciplinary action. The Court further added that by virtue of statutory appellate power under Section 38 of the Advocates Act High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution in appropriate cases on failure of the Bar Council can also take action after its attention is invited to the misconduct. [Mahipal Singh Rana v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 663, decided on 05.07.2016]

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