The Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) lodged a complaint in June against all the Big Four firms in India, which hasn't led to any legal action or proceeding so far.
There has been no development on the matter, SILF president Lalit Bhasin told The Accountant in an email, declining to comment further.
The complaint, seen by The Accountant, is requesting an end to the alleged engagements of the Big Four in unauthorised practice of law, as required by India's Advocates Act 1961.
SILF aims at preventing an alleged malpractice which sees accountancy and management firms employing law graduates who render legal services, as such in violation of the provisions of the Act.
It also reiterates a Supreme Court decision invalidating the provision which allowed chartered accountants to appear on behalf of a party before the National Tax Tribunal.
Among the legal arguments made by SILF is that only an advocate who is on the rolls of the State Bar Council is entitled to practise the profession of law. That includes both litigious and non-litigious matters.
Quoting a landmark court case, SILF highlighted that India's Bar Council oversight on non-litigation activities has been non-existent, creating a loop hole exploited by accountancy and management firms.
Looks like these accountants are getting more creative. Giving legal advisory is fine so long they do not act on behalf in prosequition or as solicitors / advocators.
Furthermore, during liquidation and forensic assignmengts, we need someone with legal background to give advisory on the liquidation/investigation matters. Normally, we will engage the external lawyers.