Friday, July 13, 2012

Legal Fraternity Of India Is Getting Serious But Legal Education Is Getting Worst

Legal fraternity of India has become more active and vocal in the recent past. Whether it is a protest strike against the proposed higher education bill of HRD ministry or protest against allowing foreign law firms and legal process outsourcing (LPO) companies in India, legal fraternity has taken them with an iron hand.

The main stress seems to be that legal practices, in any form whatsoever, must remain within the realm of advocates enrolled under the Advocates Act, 1961 alone. With the interim order of the Supreme Court if India, legal practice in India, both litigation and non litigation, has now become an exclusive professional area for Indian advocates alone.

These concerns of Indian legal fraternity are well justified and legally sustainable. However, legal fraternity of India must also take care of the growing decline of standards pertaining to legal education on the one hand and legal practice on the other. For instance, PhDs in the law are dying slowly and Bar Council of India (BCI) is doing nothing in this regard. 

Praveen Dalal, a Supreme Court Advocate and managing partner of Perry4Law, even sent e-mails to Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid drawing their attentions to the growing corruption in higher legal educations in general and PhDs in particular. However, neither Sibal nor Khurshid has time to look at the deteriorating standards of Indian legal education.

In these circumstances, opposing the higher education bill proposed by the HRD ministry is absolutely justified and legal fraternity must take a more active and direct control over legal education in India. 

Even the legal fraternity of India must make its own house in order. The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa has taken a significant step in this direction. Preparation of conveyance documents is the duty of advocates and not touts and agents. However, many advocates adopt the practice of getting the same drafted through touts or agents due to their busy schedule and low fees offered in a particular case.

Now the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa has declared that such practice is illegal and it should be stopped with immediate effect. The council will request the state government to curb this practice and authorise only lawyers to formally draw up conveyance documents. Such badly drafted court documents are frequently challenged in the courts for various reasons.

These types of initiatives are essential to ensure good legal standards and accountability of advocates in India. There are still many areas to cover that Bar Council of India must immediately start covering.