The Bar Council of India (BCI) has written a letter to the Union Minister for consumer affairs, Ram Vilas Paswan, registering objection to reports that the Government is contemplating the inclusion of lawyers within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.







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Will protest if “Draconian proposal” to bring Advocates under Consumer Protection Act is not withdrawn: BCI to Consumer Affairs Minister

While conveying their deep anguish and resentment, the BCI has written that advocates would be forced to come on road and protest if the controversial proposal is not withdrawn.


Aishwarya
Mar 12, 2020, 3:54 PM IST







The Bar Council of India (BCI) has written a letter to the Union Minister for consumer affairs, Ram Vilas Paswan, registering objection to reports that the Government is contemplating the inclusion of lawyers within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Inter alia, it is pointed out that bringing advocates under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act may hamper the professional activities and could also lead to filing of frivolous complaints against Advocates.
The outcome of such inclusion would “undermine the legal profession” also also “be demeaning and derogatory for the whole class of advocates”, the BCI says.
The letter also emphasises that the Advocates Act, 1961 already provides to sufficiently safeguard litigants against misconduct by advocates. Further, it also provides for an effective mechanism to take action against the advocates if they are found guilty, the BCI points out.
On the other had, the BCI argues that the legal profession cannot be viewed as a service for its inclusion under the consumer law. As stated in the letter,
“It’s a judicially acknowledged fact that advocates’ profession is not part of any trade, commerce or industry. It’s not even a service within the ambit of Service Tax Act and is merely an activity in aid and assistance of the justice administration system.”
Conveying resentment and deep anguishagainst the move of the Government and deeming such a proposal to be “draconian” in nature, the BCI has warned that passing of such a law would lead to a “massive agitation” by the the advocate fraternity, who would be “left with no other option but to come on the roads”in protest.
On a related note, the Bar Council of Delhi has also written a letter to the Consumer Affairs Minister, stating that the move to include lawyers under the Consumer Protection Act was highly deplorable and unacceptable.
The Delhi High Court Bar Association also recently resolved to wear white armbands on March 12 as a mark of protest against the controversial proposal to include advocates under the ambit of ‘service providers’ under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

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