‘Inappropriate to open up Indian legal sector to foreign players’

Foreign players continue to pressurize India to open up Indian legal sector for them, says Indian Bar Association

By Sai Nikesh D

News over ‘opening of Indian legal sector to the foreign players’ has been making rounds all the way, however, key legal sources confirmed that there is no official decision yet in this regard.

“Neither the government nor any apex body related to Indian legal sector have taken any move in this matter. News appearing in the press seems to be false and frivolous,” said Adish C Aggarwala, president of International Council of Jurists, chairman of All India Bar Association, convener of Indian Council of Jurists.

Aggarwala, who was also the ex-chairman of Bar Council of India (BCI) during 2002-03 period, said, “In 2002, in a joint meeting between BCI members, BCI chairman and High Court Bar Association presidents from all over the country, it has been decided not to allow foreign players to practice in India, even for arbitrations.”

In this regard, BCI has also submitted a letter to the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, which remained unresponsive since then, due to a strong opposition from the BCI members.

However, foreign players continue to put pressure on India to open up Indian legal sector to them and may be because of a weak opposition from the current BCI body, the issue is coming in to the picture again, he added.

Strongly condemning such move, he noted that the foreign players will not be in a position to make right arguments due to lack of basic understanding of Indian scenario and may even develop arguments according to their respective governments, thus, misleading the law, which will obviously be ‘not good for India’.

Meanwhile, B S Manjunath, Advocate, Madras High Court, said, “Any such move will boost competitiveness and create scope for upgradation of Indian legal profession, besides also creating employment opportunities for Indian law students.”

However, dealing with litigations will become costlier in terms of scale of payment which will be a minus to the foreign players and the impact of foreign players will be more on ‘commercial courts to deal with business transactions’, which are currently under plans to be opened in India, he added.

On the other side, Srikumar Subramaniam, one of the experts from Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) business said, “Opening up of Indian legal sector to foreign players will enable Indian companies to provide additional awareness to their employees on legal subject matters of various foreign countries.”

This will also enable ways for Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) which will be an advantage to the vast Indian legal sector, he added.

If Indian government is really keen on opening up of Indian legal sector to foreign players, then a strong opposition will be obvious from the general advocates of the nation, added the sources.

This article was published in The Dollar Business on July 24, 2015

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