Govt, Sc For Lawyers Access To All Tribunals

anthony (Finance) (7918 Points)

20 June 2011  

The Supreme Court has stated that the rule that lawyers cannot appear before a labour court/industrial tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act without the consent of the workman and the leave of the court is unconstitutional as it violated the equality provision, Article 14 of the Constitution, and the freedom to pursue any profession in Article 19(1)(g). The court therefore took suo motu notice of the prohibition under Section 36(4) of the Industrial Disputes Act and has asked the Attorney General to assist it in examining the legality of the provision. It also requested senior lawyer F S Nariman to assist it in the effort and he has consented to do so. According to the order in M/s Hygienic Foods vs Jasbir Singh, “industrial law has become so complex that a layman cannot possibly present his case properly before the labour court/industrial tribunal. Similarly, Section 13 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 debarring lawyers from appearing before the family courts also appears to us, prima facie, to be unconstitutional because family law has become so complex that an ordinary layman cannot possibly be expected to put up his/her case properly before them. Hence to debar lawyers will really be denying justice to millions of people.” Meanwhile, the government last week notified Section 30 of the Advocates Act 1961 after a 50-yearlong delay and consequently now lawyers can practise in all courts and tribunals as a matter of right. Several laws which barred appearance of lawyers in legal forums will require amendments after the notification. -