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3 Legal Moves to Prepare For

Published: Dec 23, 2010 07:35:36 AM IST
Updated: Dec 23, 2010 09:03:27 AM IST
3 Legal Moves to Prepare For
Image: Sameer Pawar

The Legal Services Board
The Law Ministry announced plans to set up a super regulator to control all quasi-judicial authorities in India. Called the Legal Services Board, under the draft Legal Practitioners Act, the body would oversee the regulation of legal practice, client service and legal education. It would also make it obligatory for lawyers to provide free legal aid.

The Board would comprise a chairman, a member secretary and an unspecified number of other members appointed by the government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the chairman of the Bar Council of India. The Board would monitor more than 62 quasi-judicial bodies that look after fields as diverse as telecom, taxes and insurance.

Companies Bill
The Companies Bill aims to tighten corporate governance norms and make independent directors further accountable against the backdrop of the Satyam case. Minister of Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid said it would be tabled in the Budget Session in February 2011.

The effort to overhaul the Companies Act began more than a decade ago, in 1997. The Bill will protect the rights of minority shareholders by introducing the concept of class action suits to provide more power to investors in case of discrepancy and mismanagement. It will also bring about responsible self-regulation with adequate disclosure and accountability and make it mandatory for one-third of the board to comprise independent directors. It also stipulates lesser government control over internal corporate processes.

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010, which was approved by the Cabinet in October, aims to make judges accountable to the public for alleged acts of corruption and misconduct. The new law will replace the Judges (Inquiry) Act 1968.

An Oversight Committee, headed by a former Chief Justice of India, is being set up. It will consist of four other members, including the Attorney General, a Supreme Court judge, a former chief justice of a high court and an eminent personality nominated by the President.

The committee will also be able to remove judges facing grave charges of misconduct.

(This story appears in the 31 December, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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