Legal profession in British India -
During the British period, model legal system was developed in India. Before 1726, the courts derived their power not from the British crown but from the East India Company. The charter of 1661 has already described the English law.
(Read full note on Development of legal profession in India )
1) Charter of 1726 :
In1726 the crown issued the charter of 1726, and the Mayor's Court were established in the presiding towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras . They where the royal Courts. They followed the procedure based on English law . But there were no facilities to get the legal training. Many persons who have no knowledge of law where used to practice before the said Courts. The Mayor's Court has no jurisdiction in criminal cases. The criminal jurisdiction was conferred on the Governor.
2) Charter of 1753 -
In 1753, another charter was issued to modify the charter of 1726. This charger also ignored significant provision for legal training and education relating to legal practitioner. Even after the charter of 1753 the legal profession was not organised.
3) Charter of 1774
The Regulating Act, 1773 empowered the British Crown to establish a Supreme Court at Calcutta by issuing a Charter. Accordingly a supreme court at Calcutta was established by is sung the charter of 1774 .
Clause II of the Charter of 1774 empowered the said Supreme Court of judicature Calcutta to approve and enroll advocates and Attorneys- in-law. They were to be Attorney's of record. They were authorised to appear and act in the supreme court. The supreme court had power to remove any advocate for Attorney on reasonable cause. Indian legal practitioners were not allowed to enter the supreme court. At that time 'Advocate' means the British and Irish Barristers and member of the faculty of advocates in Scotland. The term 'Attorney' applied to the British attorneys or solicitor.
The Bengal Regulation Act of 1793 :
The Bengal regulation Act VII Of 1973 permitted qualified Hindu and Muslim persons only to enroll as pleaders and the Bangal Regulation XII of 1833 allowed all the qualified persons of any nationality or religion to enroll as a pleader of the Sardar Diwani Adalat.
The Legal Practitioners Act, 1846 -
The legal practitioners Act 1846 allowed at the people of any nationality or religion to act as leaders. It also allowed attorneys and barristers enrolled in any of Her Majesty's courts in India to plead in the company's Sardar Adalat.
The Legal Practitioners Act, 1853 - This Act authorized the barristers and Attorneys of the Supreme Court to plead in any of the companies courts subordinate to Sadar court subject to rules in force in the said subordinate courts as regards language or otherwise.
Indian High Court Act, 1861 -
The Indian High Court Act, 1861 empowered the government to establish High Court in Presidency towns. After the establishment of the High Courts, the Civil Courts were organised at different towns . The criminal courts were organised by the Criminal Procedure Code 1898.
Legal Practitioners Act 1879 -
Under the Legal practitioners Act 1879 the term 'legal practitioner' means Advocate, Vakil or attorney of a High Court and pleader, Mukhtar or revenue agent, who were non graduates and matriculates only . All these were brought under the jurisdiction of the high court . Vakils were the persons who had taken the law degree from Indian Universities. Pleaders and mukhtars Were the Indian lawyers but advocate were to be the barristers.
Section 5 of the Act says that every person entered as an attorney on the role of any High Court would be entitled to practice in all the courts subordinate To Such High Courts and in all revenue offices .
Section 6 of the Act Empowered the High Court to make rules consistent with the Act as to Suspension and dismissal of pleaders and Mukhtars.
Section 8 empowered the pleader to practice in courts and revenue offices after enrollment.
Section 9 empowered the Mukhtar to practice in the courts after enrollment.
According to Section 12 , the High Court can Suspend or dismiss any pleader or Mukhtar if he was convicted of any criminal offence and according to Section 13 , the high court can suspend or dismiss pleader or Mukhtar guilty of professional misconduct.
Section 14 of the Act made provisions in respect of the procedure when charge of professional misconduct was brought in subordinate Court or revenue office.
Section 17 of the Act deals with power of chief controlling revenue authority to make rules consistent with this act as to qualification, suspension, dismissal etc. of the revenue agent.
Indian bar committee 1923 -
A committee called Indian bar committee under the chairmanship of Sir Edward Chaminer was constituted in 1923 to consider the issue of organisation of the bar on all India basis. The committee did not favour the establishment of All India Bar Council. It was of the view that bar council should be constituted for each High Court.
Indian Bar Council Act 1926 -
In 1926, the Indian bar council of India Act was enacted to provide a bar council for each High Court. The Bombay High Court and Calcutta High Court allowed non-barrister advocates to practice. Thus distinction between Barristers and advocates was abolished. The pleaders and Mukhtars practicing in Mufusil Courts were not within the scope of the Indian bar council act 1926.
Even after the enactment of the Bar Council Act 1926, the High Court has power of enrollment of advocates and the functions of the bar council was adversary in nature and the rules made by the bar council were to be effective only on the approval of the high court. Section 10 of the Indian bar council Act 1926 empowered the high court to reprimand, suspend or remove from practice any advocate of the high court if he was found guilty of professional misconduct or other misconduct.