The Bar Council of India on Monday told a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice B N Aggarwal that it has decided to let advocates advertise on the internet.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by an advocate, V B Joshi, challenging Rule 36, Section IV of the BCI rules which prohibits the legal fraternity from advertising their services.
Bringing an amendment to the said rule, the BCI resolved that advocates could furnish the information on their chosen website. The amendment allows advocates to mention in their chosen websites their names, telephone numbers, e-mail IDs and professional and educational qualifications. Justice S H Kapadia, who was part of the bench perusing the amended notification, suggested that advocates may also state their areas of specialisation and years of experience.
The BCI had earlier contended that the legal profession was not a trade and hence, advocates could not be permitted to advertise their services.
However, the BCI submitted that such advertisements can be issued only within the parameters fixed by it under the amended regulations and any breach of the same would invite disciplinary action and would constitute professional misconduct.
The regulatory body had earlier taken the view that unlike western countries where lawyers were permitted to advertise their services, the same cannot be permitted in India as it “cherished different ethos, social values and ethical norms.”
Perusing it, the court directed the petitioner to file his response to the amended rule of the BCI and adjourned the matter.