Foreign lawyers and Indians practicing law abroad came together on Monday to raise a fresh plea to permit foreign lawyers to practice in India.
The demand, which has all along been stiffly opposed by the country’s legal fraternity led by the Bar Council of India (BCI) was made at a seminar hosted by the National Bar Association of India on the occasion of National Law Day.
They demanded appropriate amendments in the Advocates Act to enable foreign lawyers to practice in India and set up law firms.
The Supreme Court had in July this year directed Reserve Bank of India not to permit law firms from abroad to open liaison offices in the country.
BCI has also been protesting HRD ministry’s Higher Education and Research Bill terming it an attempt to permit entry of foreign lawyers into India.
“There should be no barriers for lawyers. They should be allowed to give their services anywhere in the world. The change should come from inside and cannot be thrust upon from outside. Necessary legislative changes need to be done”, said James P Duffy, a senior US lawyer and a leader of the American Bar Association.
Sanjay Chaubey, President of the New York State Bar Association said there were 500 lawyers of Indian origin practicing in New York. “New York once was not liberal but now they allow foreign law firms”, he said.
Another lawyer Sudish Sharma said legal sector too should be opened up like all other sectors. “There are MNCs in every sector. Now is the era of globalisation and gone is the era of protectionalism”, he said