Disciplinary Committee Under Advocates Act

In legal practice, maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics is paramount to upholding the integrity of the legal profession and ensuring the administration of justice.

To regulate and address instances of misconduct or unethical behaviour among advocates, the Advocates Act of 1961 establishes a disciplinary mechanism through disciplinary committees.

Bare Act PDFs

The Indian Advocates Act of 1961 primarily outlines the provisions related to the disciplinary committees under section 35. It substantially highlights the establishment, composition, and functions of disciplinary committees, providing the legal framework for their role in regulating advocates’ conduct and adjudicating misconduct complaints.

In this law note, we will tell you about the role, composition, and functions of the disciplinary committee under the Advocates Act, while simultaneously shedding light on its significance in upholding the principles of legal ethics and accountability within the legal fraternity.

Role of the Disciplinary Committee

The disciplinary committee, as mandated by the Advocates Act, serves as a quasi-judicial body tasked with the responsibility of adjudicating complaints of misconduct against advocates. Its primary role is investigating misconduct allegations, conducting disciplinary proceedings, and recommending appropriate disciplinary action against errant advocates in India.

By enforcing ethical standards and professional conduct, the disciplinary committee plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and credibility of the legal profession.

Here are five important roles played by the disciplinary committee as mandated by the Advocates Act.

Bare Act PDFs

1. Investigation of Complaints

The disciplinary committee plays a key role in investigating reports of misconduct or unethical behaviour against advocates. Complaints can come from clients, other advocates, or concerned individuals. The committee carefully investigates the allegations by collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing relevant documents to determine their truthfulness.

2. Adjudication of Disciplinary Proceedings

Upon completion of the investigation, the disciplinary committee initiates disciplinary proceedings against the advocate in question. The committee allows the advocate to present their defence, cross-examine witnesses, and submit evidence in their favour. The proceedings are conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice, ensuring that the advocate is given a fair and impartial hearing.

3. Deliberation and Decision-Making

After considering all the evidence and arguments presented during the disciplinary proceedings, the disciplinary committee deliberates on the merits of the case. The committee assesses whether the advocate has contravened any provisions of the Advocates Act or violated ethical standards prescribed for legal practitioners. Based on its findings, the committee renders a decision, which may include recommending disciplinary action against the advocate.

4. Imposition of Disciplinary Measures

Depending on the gravity of the misconduct, the disciplinary committee has the authority to impose various disciplinary measures against the advocate found guilty of misconduct. These measures may range from issuing a warning or reprimand to suspending the advocate from practising law for a specified period. In cases of serious misconduct, the committee may recommend the removal of the advocate from the role of advocates, effectively disqualifying them from practising law.

5. Protection of Public Interest

By adjudicating complaints of misconduct and enforcing disciplinary measures, the disciplinary committee serves to protect the public interest and uphold the credibility of the legal profession. By holding advocates accountable for their actions and ensuring compliance with ethical standards, the committee contributes to fostering public trust and confidence in the legal system.

Composition of the Disciplinary Committee

The disciplinary committee typically includes members appointed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) or the respective State Bar Councils. These members often comprise experienced advocates and legal experts who possess a deep understanding of legal ethics and professional standards. To ensure impartiality and fairness in its proceedings, the committee may also include retired judges or judicial officers.

Functions and Powers of the Disciplinary Committee

The disciplinary committee is vested with various functions and powers to effectively discharge its mandate. These include the following.

1. Investigation of Complaints

The disciplinary committee has the power to look into allegations of misbehaviour made against attorneys. It may require finding facts, holding hearings and questioning individuals who claims the accusations to be true.

2. Conduct of Disciplinary Proceedings

When a complaint is received, the disciplinary committee starts disciplinary procedures against the advocate in question. This includes allowing the advocate to state their defence, question witnesses, and provide evidence to support their case.

3. Adjudication and Decision-Making

Following a comprehensive investigation, the disciplinary board carefully reviews the facts of the matter and makes a decision based on the evidence and the regulations outlined in the Advocates Act. Depending on the severity of the wrongdoing, the committee has the authority to implement disciplinary actions, including a reprimand, suspension, or expulsion from the list of legal practitioners.

4. Recommendation of Disciplinary Action

After discussing the matter, the disciplinary committee suggests taking certain disciplinary measures to the Bar Council, which can then implement these recommendations and enforce sanctions as needed.


Under the Advocates Act, the disciplinary committee plays a pivotal role in upholding professional integrity and ethical standards within the legal profession. By adjudicating complaints of misconduct and ensuring accountability among advocates, the committee contributes towards fostering public trust and confidence in the legal system. As custodians of legal ethics, advocates are duty-bound to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct, with the disciplinary committee serving as a guardian of these ethical principles.

Suhani Dhariwal
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