Central Government Presents Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in Parliament

Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023- LAW INSIDER

LI Network

Published on: 1 August 2023 at 14:15 IST

On August 1, 2023, the Union Law Minister, Arjun Ram Meghwal, introduced the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in Parliament as part of the government’s initiative to repeal outdated laws and pre-independence Acts that have lost their relevance.

In collaboration with the Bar Council of India (BCI), the Government has decided to revoke the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, and amend the Advocates Act, 1961 by incorporating the provisions of section 36 of the former into the latter.

This move aims to streamline the statute book by eliminating unnecessary enactments and regulating the legal profession under a single Act, the Advocates Act, 1961.

The Bill states that all aspects covered under the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, except for matters related to ‘touts,’ are already addressed by the Advocates Act, 1961. Consequently, sections 1, 3, and 36 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, have been repealed under clause (a) of sub-section (5) of section 50 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

The Law Commission of India, in its Report No. 249 titled ‘Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal (Second Interim Report),’ has also recommended the repeal of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, after suitable amendments to the Advocates Act, 1961.

According to the Bill, certain authorities, such as High Courts, District Judges, Sessions Judges, District Magistrates, and Revenue-officers above the rank of a district Collector, are empowered to frame and publish lists of individuals proven to act as touts.

These authorities have the right to modify and update these lists periodically.

The Bill also allows them to refer suspected touts to subordinate courts for an inquiry. After providing the alleged touts with an opportunity to present their case, the subordinate courts will report their findings to the respective authority.

The authority can then include the names of those proven to be touts in the published list.

The Bill emphasizes that no person’s name shall be included in any such list without providing them with a chance to contest their inclusion.

Furthermore, the Court or Judge may restrict the entry of any person whose name appears on the list from the precincts of the Court.

The Bill proposes penalties for those acting as touts while their names are listed, including imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of up to five hundred rupees, or both.

The Bill defines a ‘tout’ as a person who, for remuneration from a legal practitioner, procures the legal practitioner’s employment in any legal business or proposes to do so.

Additionally, it includes those who frequent places like Civil or Criminal Courts, revenue-offices, railway stations, landing stages, lodging places, or other public resort areas for the purpose of such procurement.

This amendment to the Advocates Act, 1961, seeks to streamline the legal framework and ensure the efficient regulation of the legal profession by consolidating relevant provisions and repealing obsolete laws.

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