NEW DELHI: The Bar Council of Delhi has directed four big accounting firms—E&Y, Deloitte India, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG—not to practise law until further orders from the lawyers’ body. In an interim order on Friday, the Bar Council also asked the firms to furnish a list of advocates enrolled across all their offices in any capacity.
The Bar Council’s ruling came on a complaint by senior advocate Lalit Bhasin alleging that though these firms were accounting firms, they were engaged in practising law, which was not legally permissible.Bhasin, president of the Society of India Law Firms, said that the accounting firms had been encroaching into legal practice and their practice of hiring law graduates to provide non-litigation legal solutions was contrary to the Advocates Act.
While Chartered Accountants are governed by the Chartered Accountants Act, legal practice is governed by the Advocates Act. “The Council is of the view that in the meantime, all the firms... refrain themselves from indulging in any such practice until further orders,” said a statement from the Delhi Bar Council.
A panel formed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has suggested amendment of the Advocates Act to allow audit firms to offer legal services.