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Lok Sabha asks about foreign law firms, Moily says no after Law Soc visit; Results of lobbying?

Responding in writing to a question in the Indian parliament law minister Veerappa Moily stated that there were no proposals to allow foreign firms into India.

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) released a statement yesterday summarising Moily’s reply:

Under section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961, the Bar Council of India is responsible to lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates; to safeguard the right, privileges and interests of advocates; to recognize on a reciprocal basis foreign qualification in law obtained out side India for the purpose of admission advocate and to manage; to exercise general supervision and control over State Bar Councils and invest the funds of the Bar Council.

The Bar Council of India, under section 47(2) of the said Act, on reciprocal basis may prescribe the conditions, if any, subject to which foreign qualifications in law obtained by persons other than citizens of India shall be recognized for the purpose of admission as an advocate under this Act.

The Minister further informed the House that at present there is no proposal to allow foreign law firms into the country.

A delegation of the Law Society of England & Wales visited India last week and also met with Moily.

However, the PIB release did not state which member of parliament had raised the question on the entry of foreign firms or the motives behind the question.

In late September the law ministry through PIB also released two statements ostensibly on behalf of the BCI that the body “has decided not to permit foreign lawyers into India” but was subject to “rational scrutiny”.

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