Judicial Appointments Conundrum Post-NJAC Verdict

Why Parliament passed the Advocates Amendment Bill?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Legal Practitioners Act, 1879

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • The primary aim of the recent legislative changes is to eliminate ‘touts’ from the legal system and streamline legal practice in India.
  • The Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, a colonial-era law, and the Advocates Act, 1961, have been central to the regulation of legal practitioners in India.
  • The Bill repeals the 1879 Act and amends the 1961 Act to reduce redundant laws and repeal obsolete ones.

The Legal Practitioners Act, 1879

  • Inception and Scope: Enacted in 1880, it aimed to consolidate the law relating to legal practitioners in certain Indian provinces.
  • Definition of Legal Practitioner: The Act defined legal practitioners as advocates, vakils, or attorneys of any High Court.
  • Introduction of ‘Tout’: A significant aspect was the definition of ‘tout’, referring to individuals who procure clients for legal practitioners for remuneration.

The Advocates Act, 1961

  • Consolidation of Legal Practice Laws: This Act was enacted to unify and amend laws relating to legal practitioners and establish Bar Councils and an All-India Bar.
  • Pre-1961 Legal Framework: Previously, legal practitioners were governed by multiple acts, including the 1879 Act.
  • Law Commission and All-India Bar Committee Recommendations: Post-independence, reforms were suggested by the Law Commission and the All-India Bar Committee, leading to the 1961 Act.

The Advocates Amendment Bill, 2023

  • New Provisions: The Bill introduces a new section (Section 45A) in the 1961 Act, focusing on illegal practice and the regulation of touts.
  • Punishment for Illegal Practice: It prescribes imprisonment for persons illegally practicing in courts and other authorities.
  • Regulation of Touts: The Bill empowers High Courts and district judges to frame and publish lists of touts, ensuring due process before inclusion.
  • Penalties for Touts: It includes provisions for punishing individuals acting as touts with imprisonment, fines, or both.

Rationale and Implications

  • Streamlining Legal Enactments: The Bill aims to reduce superfluous laws and repeal those that have become obsolete.
  • Government’s Policy on Obsolete Laws: In line with the government’s policy to repeal outdated pre-independence Acts, the Bill seeks to modernize legal practice regulations.
  • Consultation with Bar Council of India: The amendments were made in consultation with the Bar Council of India, reflecting a collaborative approach to legal reform.


  • Addressing Legal System Complexities: The Bill addresses long-standing issues in the legal system, particularly the exploitation of legal complexities by touts.
  • Balancing Tradition and Modern Needs: By repealing outdated laws and amending existing ones, the Bill balances the need to respect legal traditions with the demands of contemporary legal practice.
  • Future Outlook: These changes are expected to enhance the integrity and efficiency of legal practice in India, contributing to a more transparent and accessible legal system.

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