Can a complaint be filed against an advocate in a consumer court?

A person who is dissatisfied with the services of a lawyer can file a complaint against the advocate in the State Bar Council. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission held in a judgement that lawyers are service providers under the Consumer Protection Act, but this was stayed by the Supreme Court of India in 2009 and still remains pending in the court, so there is no remedy available against an advocate in a consumer court currently.1

  1. Bar of Indian Lawyers Vs. D.K. Gandhi and anr, Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) Nos. 3052/2008[]

Can doctors employed in government services run private clinics?

Doctors appointed by the Central Government under the Central Health Service (CHS) are not allowed to have a private practice of any kind whatsoever including any consultation and laboratory practice.1 CHS was constituted to manage various medical posts under the Central Government, Union Territories and certain other organizations. Presently, it caters to the needs of various participating units like Directorate General of Health Services including the organizations under its control, Central Government Health Scheme, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Finance, Department of Posts etc.2 Officers under CHS are entitled to a Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) of 20% of Basic Pay subject to the condition that the Basic Pay plus NPA does not exceed ₹ 2,37,500.3

As Health comes under the State list4, information pertaining to the doctors in private practice across the country is not centrally maintained. Each state has different rules of medical practice.5

  1. Central Health Service Rules, 2014, Rule 13, https://main.mohfw.gov.in/sites/default/files/40341676761406801162.pdf. []
  2. Central Health Services, MINISTRY OF FAMILY HEALTH AND WELFARE, https://main.mohfw.gov.in/sites/default/files/6355649643BackgroundCHS_0_0_0.pdf.[]
  3. Report of the 7th Pay Commission, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, Pg: 348 https://www.finmin.nic.in/sites/default/files/7cpc_report_eng.pdf?download=1[]
  4. Sch. 7 List II Entry 6, Constitution of India, 1950.[]
  5. Non-Practicing Allowance Of Doctors In Government Hospitals, GCONNECT, GOVT. EMPLOYEES ONLINE PORTAL, https://www.gconnect.in/orders-in-brief/pay-allowances/allowance-orders-in-brief/non-practicing-allowance-doctors-government.html.[]

Can an architect solicit/advertise for work?

 

Architects are generally not allowed to advertise their professional services or let their names be included in any advertisements or forms of publicity. There are a few exceptions to this rule1:

  • He/she can publish a notice of change in address on three occasions and his/her clients can be informed by post.
  • He/she can put his name outside his/her office and on the building for which he/she was an Architect, in a lettering not exceeding 10 cms.
  • He/she can publish advertisements which include the name and address of the Architect for calling of tenders, staff requirements and similar matters.
  • His/her name can be associated with illustrations and descriptions of his work in the press or other public media but he shall not give or accept any payment for such appearances.
  • His/her name can appear in advertisements inserted in the press by suppliers or manufacturers of materials used in a building he has designed, provided his name is included in a pretentious manner and he does not accept any payment for its use.
  • His/her name can appear in brochures prepared by his/her Clients for the purpose of advertising or promoting projects for which he has been hired.
  • He/she can publish brochures, pamphlets describing his/her experience and capabilities for distribution to those potential Clients whom he/she can identify by name and position.
  •  His/her name can appear in the classified columns of the trade / professional directory and/or telephone directory/ website.
  1. Article 2(1) (xvv), Architects (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 1989.[]

How does the law ensure that a doctor does not unfairly favour a Pharmaceutical Company or Allied Health Sector Industry while treating patients?

 

Indian Medical Council regulations provide measures to ensure that a physician maintains their professional autonomy. It states that the physician or doctor shall not accept anything from any pharmaceutical or allied health sector industry. This includes:1

  • Gifts
  • Travel Facilities
  • Hospitality
  • Cash or monetary grants

Moreover, a medical practitioner shall not endorse any drug or product of the industry in public.

  1. Regulation 6.8, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002[]

Can advocates take up other employment opportunities other than law?

An Advocate cannot be the full-time employee of any person, firm, government, corporation, or concern. If they still take up such an employment, they would have to bring it to the notice of their respective Bar Council and cease to practice as an advocate for the term of employment.1

Engaging in Business

An advocate cannot personally engage in business, but can be a sleeping partner in a firm. However, the nature of the firm’s business should not be against the dignity of the profession in the opinion of the State Bar Council.2 They cannot be Managing Directors or Secretaries of a company, but can be a part of the Board of Directors, but even then, cannot have executive duties.3

Family Business

If the advocate has inherited any family business, they can go with it, provided that they do not participate personally in the management.4

Education/Journalism

An advocate may review Parliamentary Bills for a remuneration, edit legal text books at a salary, do press-vetting for newspapers, coach pupils for legal examination, set and examine question papers.

An advocate can engage in broadcasting, journalism, lecturing and teaching subjects, both legal and non-legal. But this will have to be according to the other rules about advertising and full-time employment.5

Taking up part time employment

An Advocate can also take up part-time employment after obtaining the consent of the State Bar Council.6

  1. Rule 49, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]
  2. Rule 47, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]
  3. Rule 48, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]
  4. Rule 50, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]
  5. Rule 51, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]
  6. Rule 52, Chapter II, Part VI, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.[]

Can advocates be teachers in a law college?

Although Advocates are not allowed to take up employment, they are allowed to teach law in any educational institution under a University recognized by the University Grants Commission. You can find the list of universities here. However, they can only teach in the institution for three hours a day. They will only be considered as a part-time employee of the institution.1

  1. Rule 3, The Advocates (Right to Take up Law Teaching) Rules, 1979.[]

Can a nurse issue a medical certificate?

No, only a Registered Medical Practitioner under the Indian Medical Council Act can issue a Medical Certificate in India.1 Registered Medical Practitioner means a person who has gotten registered with the State Medical Council after finishing the undergraduate medical course in a college that is recognized by the state government and is approved by the Medical Council of India. Nurses cannot be categorized as Medical Practitioners and hence, do not have the authority to issue a medical certificate.

  1. Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, Rule 1.3.3[]

Can clinical psychologists issue medical certificates?

Only Registered Medical Practitioners under the Indian Medical Council Act can issue Medical Certificates in India. Registered Medical Practitioner means a person who has gotten registered with the State Medical Council after finishing the undergraduate medical course in a college that is recognised by the State government and approved by the Medical Council of India.1 A clinical psychologist does not have a medical degree but requires a Post-Graduate degree in Psychology/Clinical-Psychology/Applied-Psychology and a Master of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology or Medical and Social Psychology. Therefore, clinical psychologists can issue reports and certificates only in special circumstances. A clinical psychologist is required to issue a certificate in cases where a person is admitted to a mental facility against their will, stating that a person does not have the capacity to consent or there is a risk to self, others, or personal or public property; and the person is not able to take care of themself due to the mental illness.2

  1. Section 2(g)(ii), The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.[]
  2. Section 89, The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.[]

Can a person practice architecture without getting registered under the Architects Act?

The Architects Act1 only prohibits the use of the title of an ‘architect’ if a person is not qualified or registered under the Act. However, it does not prohibit a person from carrying out the practice of architecture including designing, supervising or work of construction, even if they are not registered under the Act.2

  1. Section 37, The Architects Act, 1972[]
  2. Council of Architecture v. Mr Mukesh Goyal & Ors (Civil Appeal No 1819 of 2020), https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2014/21001/21001_2014_3_1501_21539_Judgement_17-Mar-2020.pdf.[]

Can an advocate represent a family member in a civil suit or criminal case?

An advocate can represent their family members, except in the following situations:1

  • An advocate shall not appear in any case in which the outcome of the case will benefit him/her monetarily.  For example, an advocate cannot represent a person in a suit for the partition of a Joint Family Property in which he/she has a share.
  • An advocate shall not appear in a case in which he/she is or can be a witness to the case. For example, an advocate cannot appear in a case where his one family member is accused of hitting the other family member.

An advocate shall not practice in a court where he/she is related to the judge  as father, grandfather, son, grandson, uncle, brother, nephew, first cousin, husband, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law daughter-in-law or sister-in-law.
Failure to follow these standards may result in disciplinary actions against the advocate.

  1. Rules on Professional Standards, The Bar Council of India.[]