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Advocates (Amendment) Bill 2023


During a debate on the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha, Law Minister said that the central government is open to a policy on transfer of high court judges. The Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Appointment and Transfer of High Court Judges in India
  2. Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Appointment and Transfer of High Court Judges in India

Government’s Stance on Judge Transfer:
  • Post-1993, with the Collegium system’s establishment, the Supreme Court Collegium oversees the transfer and appointment of high court judges.
Appointment Procedure:
  • As per Article 217, the President of India appoints High Court judges.
  • The appointment of a Chief Justice in a High Court involves the President consulting both the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the state’s Governor.
  • Other judges are appointed with additional consultation from the High Court’s Chief Justice.
Third Judges Case (1998) Interpretation:
  • The CJI must confer with a collegium comprising the two senior-most Supreme Court judges.
  • Post-consultation, the CJI proposes candidates to the President.
  • If the President objects, the collegium must review the suggestions with written reasons.
  • Should the collegium reaffirm its choices, the President is obliged to proceed with the appointments.
Judicial Transfers:
  • The President has the authority to transfer High Court judges, subject to consultation with the CJI.

Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023

  • Initiation in Rajya Sabha: Presented in August 2023.
  • Objective: Modifies the Advocates Act of 1961, nullifies sections addressing touts in the Legal Practitioners Act of 1879.
Consolidation of Legal Practitioner Laws
  • Unification of Laws: Aims to regulate legal practitioners through a singular legislative framework.
  • Targeting Malpractice: Focuses on eliminating the malpractice of ‘touting’.
Detailed Provisions of the Amendment

Authority to Publish Lists of Touts

  • Empowered Entities: High Courts, judges, magistrates, and revenue officers authorized to list touts.

Definition of Touts

  • Activities Constituting Touting: Soliciting legal business for compensation or frequenting legal or administrative venues for such purposes.

Measures Against Touts

  • Exclusion from Court: Judges can banish individuals named as touts from court premises.

Inquiry and Due Process

  • Inquiry Requirement: Subordinate courts to investigate suspected tout conduct.
  • Inclusion in List: Proven touts to be officially listed, with due process rights upheld.

Penalties for Touting

  • Consequences: Imprisonment up to three months or a fine up to INR 500, or both, for convicted touts.

-Source: The Hindu

March 2024