Advertising By An Advocate is Not Prohibited in India
As Per the Recent BCI Amended Rules, Indian Advocates Can Advertise Now
Bar Council of India Rules
Under the Advocates Act, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has the power to make rules in order to discharge its functions under the Act, based on which, it has formulated the BCI Rules .9
As per the Rule 36 of the BCI Rules, an advocate is prohibited from soliciting work or advertising, either directly or indirectly, whether by circulars, advertisements, touts, personal communications, interviews not warranted by personal relations, furnishing inspiring newspaper comments or producing his photographs to be published in connection with cases in which he has been engaged or concerned. Even the sign board, name plate or stationery of an advocate should not indicate that he is or has been the President or Member of a Bar Council or of any Association or that he has been associated with any person or organisation or with any particular cause or matter or that he specialises in any particular type of work or that he has been a Judge or an Advocate General.
However, in 2008, the Rule was amended, pursuant to a resolution passed by the BCI on 30th April, 2008 before a three- member bench of the Apex Court. According to the amended Rule, advocates are allowed to furnish information on their websites, in conformity with the Schedule, as per which the following information can be furnished on the websites:
Address, telephone numbers, e-mail id’s
Enrollment number, date of enrollment, name of the State Bar Council where originally enrolled, name of the State Bar Council on whose roll they currently stand, name of the Bar Association of which the advocate is a member
Professional and academic qualifications
Areas of Practice
IMPORTANT DECISION THAT AN ADVOCATE CAN ADVERTISE ON WEBSITES OF THEIR CHOICE
Mr.V B Joshi had filed a petition challenging the Rule 36, Section IV of BCI rules, which stops Indian Advocates from advertising their services in public in the Supreme Court. The bench was hearing to the said petition. The BCI had made amendment in the above said rule, thereby allowing the Indian Advocates to Advertise their legal services in the website of their choice. This amendment allows advocates to mention their names, telephone numbers, e-mail IDs and professional and educational qualifications on the websites of their choice.
Justice S H Kapadia who was part of this three member bench perusing the amended notification, made a suggestion that Advocates may also add their area of specialization and number of years of experience to their profile on the website.