Lok Sabha passes Advocates (Amendment) Bill to weed out touts from court complexes

The legislation provides for every High Court and District judge to frame and publish lists of touts, who procure clients for legal practitioners in return for any payment; Bill cleared earlier in Rajya Sabha during Monsoon Session

December 04, 2023 08:09 pm | Updated December 05, 2023 12:38 am IST - New Delhi

 Union Minister of Law and Justice (independent charge) Arjun Ram Meghwal speaks in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on December 4, 2023

Union Minister of Law and Justice (independent charge) Arjun Ram Meghwal speaks in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on December 4, 2023 | Photo Credit: ANI

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a Bill that seeks to regulate the legal profession by targeting “touts”, with Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal asserting there should be no role of such persons in courts.

The Bill had earlier been cleared by the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The Advocates (Amendment) Act, 2023 provides that every High Court and District judge can frame and publish lists of touts, who procure clients for legal practitioners in return for any payment.

Mr. Meghwal also said that the Union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that colonial-era laws, which have no utility, should be repealed. So far, 1,486 such laws have been repealed and some are in the process of being repealed, he added.

Stating that the suggestion, made during the discussion, about the need to have a policy on transfer of judges, he said: “We are accepting it and we will consult with the judiciary and the Chief Justice of India, and if a policy can be made on this, then we will work on it”.

Array of views

Initiating the discussion, Congress member Karti Chidambaram said, ”Touts thrive because of the complexity in dealing with our legal system”.

DMK’s A. Raja charged the government of misusing Parliament by encroaching on the powers of States by bringing amendments that deal with State subjects. “This Bill has no meaning at all...the government needs to revisit the Bill and come up with something which is workable,” he said.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury noted that the judiciary is still being treated as the last resort of affected people and argued for strengthening the process of providing legal aid to the poor and vulnerable sections.

Stressing on the importance of eliminating touts, Biju Janata Dal member Bhartruhari Mahtab said efforts should be made to promote digital interface between lawyers and clients.

RSP’s N.K. Premachandran said it was a small but important Bill for the advocate community.

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