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History Of Legal Profession

The Legal Profession plays a very important role in the administration of Justice. Lawyers assists the court in arriving at a correct Judgement. Actually the law is very complicated. The language of acts and regulations is often found very complicated and confusing and not easy to be understood. The lawyers are not puppets compelled to obey the dictate of their clients. Where matters of good faith and Honourable conduct are concerned. They are also responsible to the court for the fair and honest conduct of a case, they are agents, not of man who plays them but are acting in the administration of justice.

According to C. L. Anand has stated that ‘It has rightly been observed that a sound system of the administration of justice should posses 3 ingredients, namely

  1. A well planned body of laws based on wise concepts of social justice;
  2. A judicial hierarchy comprised of the Bench and Bar;
  3. The learned in the law and inspirited by high principles of professional conduct and existence of suitable generation to ensure fair trial.

So the legal profession is a profession of great honour. It has been created not for private gain but for public good: It is not money making occupation but a branch of Administration of Justice.

During the Hindu period the courts derived their authority from the king who was considered the fountain head of justice. The King’s Court are superior to all other courts. The king was advised by his councillors in hearing and deciding the case but he was not bound by their advise.

There is no mention in the Kautilya’s Arthasastra about the existence of legal profession and therefore most probably such a class did not exist. But according to Justice Ashutosh Mukherjee legal profession was in existence during the Hindu period.

During the Muslim period the litigants were represented by a body of persons known as Vakils The court of the kings Administrations concerned determined who should be allowed to appear as Vakil in a Zilla Court. During this period the legal profession was not an organised one. The Vakils acted more an agent for principals then as lawyer:

The East Indian Company was not interested in legal profession. And there was no uniform Judicial system in the settlements of the East Indian Company.

First by a Charter of 1726 a uniform system in each Presidency Towns i.e., Bombay, Calcutta, Chennai, created and Mayor Court was introduced. There was no specific regulation for the legal practitioners and no provision for legal training. Many person having no knowledge of law were practising law. After the Regulating Act 1773 and the Charter of 1774 there was much development of legal profession. The crown abolished the charter of 1774 and established Supreme court of Judicature at Calcutta by issuing a charter and the mayor court were abolished.

As per clause II of the Charter of 1774, provided and contained as “We do further authorise and empower the said Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal to approve, admit and enrol such and so many Advocates and attorneys at law as to the said Supreme Court of judicature at Fort William in Bengal seem meet, who shall be attorneys on record shall be and are hereby authorised to appear and act and plead and act for suitors of the said supreme Court of Judicature at Port Williams and the said Advocates and Attorneys on reasonable ground to remove and no other persons whatsoever but such Advocates and attorneys so admitted and enrolled shall be allowed to appear and plead or act in the said Supreme Court, of Judicature of Fort Williams in Bengal for or on behalf of such suitors or any of them.”

As per Clause II of Charter of 1774 it empowered Supreme Court to approve and cancel or remove Advocates and attorneys at law on reasonable cause. They were authorised to appear and plead and act for the suitors of the Supreme Court. This clause made it clear that no other person but advocates, or attorneys so admitted arid enrolled could appeared plead or act in the Supreme Court.

The term ‘Advocate’ extended only to English and Irish Barristers and members of the faculty of Advocates in Scotland and the term ‘Attorneys’ then meant only the British attorneys or solicitors. Thus the Indian Legal Practitioners were not authorised to appear before the Supreme Court.

The company’s court are not organised one. In addition to company’s court Big Zamindars also had courts exercising both civil and criminal jurisdiction.

Sadar Diwari Adalat to enroll pleaders for company courts.

Afterwards the Bengal Regulations XXVII of 1814 made provisions to organise legal profession And Bengal regulation XII of 1833 was modified.

Soon after the legal practitioners Act 1846 was enacted this made certain provision that people of any nationality or religion would be eligible to be pleaders and attorneys or Barristers enrolled in any of her majesties courts in India would be eligible to plead in the company’s Sardar Adalat.

The Legal Practitioners Act 1853 authorised the Barrister and attorney of Supreme Court to plead in the company court.

The most significant in the English period is the enactment of the Indian High Court Act 1861 . The crown established High Court at each presidency towns.

The High Court of Judicature of Fort Williams in Bengal; was empowered to approve, admit and enroll such advocates the High Court shall deem fit.

In the year 1879 the legal practitioner Act was passed to consolidate and amended the law relating to the legal practitioners it empowered an advocate or Vakil on the role of any High Court or pleader of the Chief Court of Punjab to practice in all the courts subordinate to the court on the role of which he was entered.

Under the legal practitioners Act 1879 the term legal practitioner has been taken to mean Advocates Vakil or Attorney of High Court and pleader. This act was passed to I consolidate and amend the law relating to legal practitioners, Advocates or Vakil on the role of the High Court can practise through India.

Section 13 of the Act empowered the High Court to suspend or dismiss pleader or Mukhtar guilty of unprofessional conduct.

Section 5 - Deals with persons in the roll can practise. Section 6 - Deals with suspensions dismissal of pleader or Mukthars.

Section 7 - Made provisions in respect of issuance of certificate

Section 13 - Dealt with powering of High Court reporting suspension of members.

Indian Bar Committees, 1923

In the year 1923 Under the Chairmanship of Sir Edward Chamier a Committee called dian Bar Committee was constituted. The committee was to consider the issue as to organization of the Bar on all India basis and establishment of an all India Bar Counsel for the High Court - The committee suggested that in all High Courts a single grade of practitioners should be established and they should be called Advocates.

It recommended Bar counsel to be constituted at all High Court. The High Court got power to take disciplinary action against the Advocates for misconduct. It got powers to refer to the Bar Council before to enquire and report. Every Bar Council consisted of 15 members. This system was present in all High Courts.

  • 10 members elected from among advocates
  • 4 members nominated by High Court
  • 1 member was Advocate General

Indian Bar Council Act, 1926

In the year 1926 the Indian Bar Council Act was enacted to give effect to the some of the recommendations of the Indian Bar Committee. The main object was to provide for the constitution an in corporation of Bar Counsel for certain courts.

  1. To confer powers and impose duties as such court.
  2. To amend the law relating to the legal practitioners of such courts.

The distinction between Advocates and Barrister, abolished under Section 10. The High Court got power to reprimand, suspend or remove from practice of advocate for guilty of professional misconduct and other misconduct based on complaint.

In the year 1951 , All India Bar Committee appointed by Chairmanship of Justice S. R. Das. It recommended to establish All India Bar Council and Branch in the each state, powers and vested with Bar council for enrolment, suspension removed and the previous powers conferred on High Court is removed.

A common roll to practice allover India.

Then Advocate Act in the year 1961 was enacted.

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