New Delhi | The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aims to regulate the legal profession by a single Act and seeks to target "touts".
The amendment would help to regulate the legal profession through a single Act, the Advocates Act, 1961, according to statement of objects and reasons of the legislation.
Replying to a debate on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Union Law and Justice Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said the legal profession is a noble profession and unlawful practices should be dealt with firmly.
The Bill was passed by a voice vote, following which the House adjourned for the day.
The Bill provides that every high court and district judge can frame and publish lists of touts (those who procure clients for legal practitioner in return for any payment).
As per the provisions, such persons named in the list of touts will be excluded from entering the court premises. Any violation of this provision will entail punishment with imprisonment up to three months and a fine.
In keeping with the Centre's policy of repealing all obsolete laws or pre-independence Acts which have lost their utility, the government in consultation with the Bar Council of India has decided to repeal the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, and to amend the Advocates Act, 1961, by incorporating the provisions of section 36 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, in the Advocates Act, 1961. This will reduce the number of superfluous enactments in the statute book. Also it will help to regulate the
legal profession by a single Act, the Advocates Act, 1961, the statement of objects and reasons of the legislation said.
BJD member Sujeet Kumar said there should be a single database to carry details about all the practicing advocates in the country, saying it will help in bringing a social welfare scheme for them.
He demanded to bring advocate's protection act to enable them practice fearlessly.
"Advocates are the officers of the court. Advocates are the most important stakeholders in the administration of justice," Kumar said.
BJP member Vijay Pal Singh Tomar said the Bill has provision that will end touts from courts.
AIADMK's M Thambidurai asked the government to change the name of Madras High Court to Tamil Nadu High Court, and similarly, the names of all high courts in the name of the state and not in the names of cities.
YSRCP MP V Vijayasai Reddy said lawyers charge between Rs 5 to Rs 50 lakh per hearing in the Supreme Court which is very high and demanded to put some cap on the fees.
YSRCP members S Niranjan Reddy and V Vijayasai Reddy, BJP member Ashok Bajpai, TMC (M) member G K Vasan, BSP member Ramji participated in the debate.