The Union Law Ministry on Tuesday told the Madras High Court that it was having consultations with the Bar Council of India on a proposal to consider amending the Advocates Act permitting foreign law firms to practise law in the country in non-litigious matters on reciprocal basis.

The Ministry submitted this in its additional affidavit when a writ petition seeking a direction to the Union government and the Bar Council to take action against nearly 30 law firms, who were “illegally practising” in the country, came up before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam.

The Bench recorded the submission in the additional affidavit filed by R. Jayalakshmi, Assistant Legal Adviser in the Union Law Ministry.

The Ministry sought adjournment of the matter to enable the government to take a decision.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on August 2.

In his petition, A.K. Balaji, an advocate of Harur, also prayed the court for a direction to prohibit the firms or foreign lawyers from having any legal practice either on the litigation side or non-litigation and commercial transactions in any manner in India.

A reading of the Advocates Act would make it clear that to practise law in India a person should be a citizen and possess law degree obtained from a university in the country.

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