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‘Liberalisation can never happen through BCI’: Ranbir Singh at Indo-Aus conference • Salman Khursheed: Young lawyers should help support it

Singh calls out BCI on lack of initiative
Singh calls out BCI on lack of initiative

The Bar Council of India (BCI) cannot be relied upon to take the legal services liberalisation process forward, said NLU Delhi vice chancellor (VC) Ranbir Singh on Saturday.

Singh, who was hosting a one-day law conference at ILI Delhi, through NLU Delhi’s collaboration with Deakin University Australia, in his address said: “Liberalisation can never happen through Bar Council of India. It can only be done by the government of India. With a bold government as ours, liberalisation can be easily taken care of if the lawyers push for it.”

Singh had recently told Legally India that students will have the best bargain if foreign law firms were allowed entry to India.

Senior advocate and former law minister Salman Khursheed, while delivering his presidential address on the occasion, also said at the event: “Liberalisation in the legal profession can be achieved in India only if it is done gently and quietly and informally (just like we did with airlines) without creating a noise around it.”

Deakin and NLU Delhi organised the 10 December ILI conference to provide an integrated and holistic understanding of the requirements and complexities required in easing up of legal services in India, according to the press release.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra had written to the prime minister Narendra Modi in November, copying in other cabinet ministers and threatening strikes by lawyers should the government ignore the BCI’s role in liberalisation talks or in regulating the profession.

In that same letter Mishra had reminded Modi of the AK Balaji case in the Supreme Court, against the entry of foreign law firms, and said that discussing liberalisation while that case was still pending in the SC is “quite illegal and contemptuous” and unless the BCI withdraws from the case “nothing further could be done” until it is disposed of.

The BCI had pulled out of liberalisation talks one day before they were scheduled before the government, at the end of September.

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