[Exclusive]: Talwar Thakore and Vinod Dhall mutually agree to part ways

[Exclusive]: Talwar Thakore and Vinod Dhall mutually agree to part ways

Pallavi Saluja

Talwar Thakore & Associates (TTA) and Vinod Dhall have mutually agreed to part ways, ending their collaboration.

While Dhall’s collaboration with TTA ended in January this year, his team continues to be a part of the firm. Counsel Ram Kumar is now heading TTA’s competition practice. Vinod Dhall will continue with his independent competition practice.

Confirming this development, TTA Partner Feroz Dubash, said,

“TT&A and Vinod Dhall have, following discussions, mutually agreed to terminate their relationship and will be pursuing their opportunities in the field of competition law independently. TT&A continues to advise clients on competition law as before and the firm’s competition practice will now be headed by Ram Kumar, Counsel.

We understand that Mr. Dhall will continue to remain active and practice competition law as before.”

In 2013, former Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) Vinod Dhall had signed a collaboration agreement, combining his competition law practice with TTA’s corporate and finance practice.

The reason for ending this collaboration has not been provided, although litigation in various high courts and complaint pending with Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) could have triggered the move. The main ground for the litigation and the complaint before the BCD was that retired officials of the CCI cannot practice as advocates at the Commission as per the Rule 7 of Chapter III of the Bar Council of India Rules.

Rule 7 states,

 “An officer after his retirement or otherwise ceasing to be in service for any reasons, if enrolled as an Advocate shall not practice in any of the Judicial, administrative Courts/ Tribunals/ authorities which are presided over by an officer equivalent or lower to the post which such officer last held.”

Challenging Dhall’s practice as an advocate at the CCI, petitions (PIL) were filed in the Hyderabad High Court by Major Pankaj Rai and in the Karnataka High Court by Dr. Savio Pereira. However, both these petitions were dismissed.

Dhall had thereafter filed a defamation suit against Pankaj Rai in the Delhi High Court. Rai had submitted before the High Court that he was willing to make a representation that he would not defame Dhall in the public domain. On the satisfaction of the counsel for Dhall, the High Court disposed of the suit. While doing so, the Court passed a permanent injunction against Rai from defaming Dhall in public. The order dated December 4, 2018 also states,

“This shall however not bar the Defendant from raising the issue in respect of Rule 7 of Chapter III of the Bar Council of India Rules and Section 37 of the Advocates Act, 1961 in the appropriate fora…”

The Court further directed the BCD to go into the question of whether there lies any complaint against Dhall, and to do so within one year.

Vinod Dhall had set up an independent competition practice after he retired as Chairman of the CCI. Later, he had entered into a best friend relationship with Linklaters, exclusively for Competition Law advice.

We have reached out to Vinod Dhall for comment.

Image taken from here.

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