ADVOCATES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2023
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Context: The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, passed by the Lok Sabha, makes 'tout' activities punishable and removes outdated provisions from the Legal Practitioners Act 1879.
- The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is a legislative proposal passed by the Lok Sabha, with the aim of amending the Advocates Act 1961. The Advocates Act 1961 consolidates the laws related to legal practitioners in India and established Bar Councils, including the All-India Bar.
- The key focus of the amendment is to address issues related to touts and strengthen the regulation of their activities in the legal profession.
Repeal of Sections Related to Touts
●The Bill repeals certain sections under the Legal Practitioners Act 1879 that pertain to touts.
●Touts, in the context of this amendment, are individuals who engage in activities such as proposing to procure or procuring the employment of a legal practitioner in exchange for payment.
Empowerment of Authorities to Frame Lists
●The Bill empowers specific authorities, including High Courts, district judges, session judges, district magistrates, and revenue officers not below the rank of a district collector, to frame and publish lists of touts. These lists are intended to identify individuals engaged in tout activities.
●The authorities have the discretion to exclude any person whose name is included in the list of touts from the premises of the court.
Preparation of Lists through Inquiry
●The authorities tasked with framing the lists of touts may direct subordinate courts to conduct inquiries into the conduct of individuals suspected or alleged to be touts.
●Once a person is proven to be a tout through the inquiry process, their name may be included in the list of touts. The Bill ensures that no person is included in these lists without being allowed to present a defence or show cause against their inclusion.
Penalties for Acting as a Tout
●The amendment introduces penalties for individuals who continue to act as touts after their names have been included in the list. Such individuals may face imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to Rs 500, or both.
●This provision is designed to deter individuals from engaging in tout activities and reinforces the consequences for violating the regulations established by the Bill.
- The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is a comprehensive legislative effort to address the issue of touts in the legal profession. By empowering authorities to frame lists, conduct inquiries, and impose penalties, the amendment seeks to enhance the integrity of the legal system and protect the interests of both legal practitioners and the public.
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