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Delhi Bar Council Orders 4 Audit Firms, Including Deloitte & KPMG, to Refrain from Practising Law

The action came after a complaint accused the accounting firms of engaging in law practice, which was not legally permissible.


Updated:May 3, 2019, 3:58 PM IST
Delhi Bar Council Orders 4 Audit Firms, Including Deloitte & KPMG, to Refrain from Practising Law
A file photo of the Deloitte logo outside the company's office in Gurugram, Haryana. (Reuters)

New Delhi: The Bar Council of Delhi, in an interim order on Friday, directed four big accounting firms — E&Y, Deloitte India, Pricewaterhouse Cooper's and KPMG — to refrain from practising law until further orders from the lawyers' body.

The Bar Council has also asked them for a list of all advocates enrolled across all their offices, in any capacity.

The action came on a complaint by senior advocate Lalit Bhasin alleging that although these firms were originally accounting firms, they were engaged in law practice, which was not legally permissible.

Bhasin, who is also the President of the Society of India Law Firms, said these accounting firms have encroached into legal practice and their practice of hiring law graduates to provide non-litigation legal solutions was in contrast with 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.

As per media reports, an expert panel constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in November 2018 had suggested an amendment to the Advocates Act to allow audit firms to offer legal services.

The Bar Council of Delhi will hear the matter next on July 12.

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