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    Lawyers threaten to go on strike

    Kochi (PTI): The Bar Council of India(BCI) on Wednesday said that the lawyers would be "forced to strike work", if the Union Government took a unilateral decision on allowing entry of foreign law firms and lawyers into the country without "reciprocity clause".

    "Even if the government takes such a decision, we will not allow this if there is no reciprocity clause. The BCI is looking at this problem with an open mind," its Chairman, S Gopakumaran Nair told a press meet here.

    With India under pressure from various countries, including the US, UK and Australia to allow foreign law firms and lawyers to practise in India, the BCI is holding a two-day National Joint National consulative conference here from Nov 17 to discuss this and various other issues.

    Elected representatives of 18 state Bar Councils would be participating, he said.

    The Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce has been consulting the BCI to obtain its views on the subject. The Chairman, Vice Chairman and other members had 2-3 rounds of discussions with senior officials of the Ministry and also with the representatives of Indian law firms, he said.

    Representatives of Law Society of England and British Government and also the representatives of the Law Council of Australia and Australian government had visited the BCI office and held discussions.

    Foreign lawyers come to India on tourist visas and clandestinely practise in the metro cities, he alleged.

    "We cannot stop it," he admitted.



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