The recently issued Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules, 2015 (`the Rules’) by the Bar Council of India (BCI) are likely to exclude many non-litigation advocates from `practising’ law in India. The avowed purpose of the Rules is to save Bar Associations from slipping out of the hands of the advocates who `practice law’. Consumed by their zeal to tighten their political grip over Bar Associations, the drafters have failed to look beyond advocates `practising law’ in different Courts and recognising that the legal profession of the twenty-first century has moved far beyond litigation and courts. Consequently, not only are the Rules myopic in vision and replete with errors, but they potentially derecognise the vibrant non-litigation law practice in India. If this was indeed a conscious policy choice by the BCI, then it is probably a classic case of regulatory capture, where an interest group (a section of litigation advocates) has captured the regulator (BCI).
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