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HC notice to Centre, state over advocates access to family courts
January, 07th 2012

A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court has issued a showcause notice to the Central and state law secretaries as also the registrar general of the high court on the legal position of an adovcate's access in family courts where the lawyers are not allowed to practice.

The Family Court's Act requires the parties to be present in person and only the court can appoint a lawyer as amicus curiae. The court's order came on a PIL filed by Jago Janta Society.

Counsel for the society, Poonam Chand Bhandari, argued before the court that Section 30 of Advocate's Act has been notified by the Central government with effect from June 15 and the lawyers can appear before any court or tribunal to practice but the Family court is not allowing lawyer's assistance to the litigants in courts.

"We have been told orally by the court that no court or tribunal, including family court, can ask a lawyer now to not to appear in the court, however, a proper order will be passed only after the state and Central governments file their response," Bhandari said.

In fact, Section 30 of the Advocate's Act entitles any lawyer to appear before any court, forum, tribunal or authority as of right to assist any person on legal issues but the same was not brought into force when the Adovcate Act was added to the statute book. As a result, in certain courts and tribunals, lawyers could appear only if they were permitted by the presiding officer.

In 1988, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to consider whether Section 30 should be brought into force or not. The court had then held that it was the discretion of the Centre to bring the section into force by issuing a notification.

But it was only 50 years after enactment of Advocates Act in 1961, the Centre in June 2011 notified the said section giving lawyers as matter of right appear and practice, in all courts and forums, including tribunals or any quasi-judicial authority.

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