ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Revitalising Legal Accountability

The legal profession plays a crucial role in society, as advocates are flag-bearers of the law and the fundamental rights of citizens. They are also officers of the court, and the Advocates Act, 1961 grants power to the Bar Council of India (BCI) and state bar councils (SBCs) to self-regulate the profession and establish rules relating to admission and enrolment, conditions of practice, standards of professional conduct and etiquette, disciplinary proceedings, legal education, recognition of law colleges, and welfare activities.

The legal profession plays a crucial role in society, as advocates are flag-bearers of the law and the fundamental rights of citizens. They are also officers of the court, and the Advocates Act, 1961 grants power to the Bar Council of India (BCI) and state bar councils (SBCs) to self-regulate the profession and establish rules relating to admission and enrolment, conditions of practice, standards of professional conduct and etiquette, disciplinary proceedings, legal education, recognition of law colleges, and welfare activities.

The legal profession is one of the few professions mentioned in the Constitution. However, the bar councils have failed to fulfil their statutory duties satisfactorily, creating an atmosphere of total unaccountability. Recommendations to improve the regulatory structure include extending the scope of pre-enrolment disqualification and post-enrolment removal of advocates’ names, increasing the quantum of fines and compensation payments in cases of professional misconduct, prohibiting boycotts and strikes, and extending the accountability of bar council office-bearers by constituting a special public grievance redressal committee to prevent corruption and the abuse of power.

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