LAW RESOURCE INDIA

Ombudsman for Legal Sector

Posted in LAWYERS by NNLRJ INDIA on August 9, 2011
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Government is working on a Bill that envisages an Ombudsman to look into the complaints against lawyers and a Legal Services Board that would regulate law practices in the country. Giving this information in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Law & Justice informed the House that a draft Bill titled “Legal Practitioners (Regulation and Maintenance of Standards in Profession, Protecting the interest of Clients and Promoting the Rule of Law) Act, 2010” was drafted and uploaded in the website of the Ministry of Law & Justice inviting comments and suggestions of the stakeholders. Comments are being received. Shri Khurshid said the draft Bill will be reviewed based on these comments.

As per the proposed Bill, the complaints against the legal professionals will be examined by the Ombudsman and the report of the proposed Ombudsman will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of the State with a copy to the proposed Legal Services Board. The Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council shall consider the report of the Ombudsman and if such report is not accepted by the Bar Council, the reasons for rejection of the recommendations of the Ombudsman shall be explained in detail and the same shall be published in the manner prescribed by rules. This will not in any way minimize the role of Bar Councils, Shri Salman Khurshid said.

However, Clauses 30-33 of the proposed draft Bill empower the Board to issue directions to the Bar Councils in certain specified circumstances and enables the Board to approach the High Court for enforcement of the directions if the Bar Councils fail to comply.

One Response

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  1. Venkatesh P. Dalwai said, on August 10, 2011 at 18:20

    The standards for legal profession need to be prescribed but no law can be made to curtail the liberty to think and act in the interest of client by prescribing the formulas for profession. Bar council has many rules in place to deal with professional misconduct. There is no need for ombudsman to deal with such issues at all India Level. It will be unnecessary legislation to deal with present issue. The Bar councils’ power and discretion to deal with enquiry will be taken out by such legislation. Instead the Parlimetarians must prescribe the law to lift the standards of MLA and MP who decide the future of this country. The rules of professional misconduct for them is very much necessary than for advocates. The ombudsman report has to be after enquiry only which means after following rules of natural justice and if the Bar council is given power to decide about the report then Bar Council will be appellate authority virtually.The delinquent has to undergo twin inquiries at the hands of Ombudsman and Bar council. Learned law Minister need to concentrate more on his fellow politicians than advocates.


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