Cushion domestic law firms and allow foreign firms entry: Law Minister

Cushion domestic law firms and allow foreign firms entry: Law Minister

New Delhi: The government will soon be permitting foreign law firms to set up their offices in India in close collaboration with their domestic partners. This will lead to healthier competition, according to minister of law & justice, H R Bhardwaj.

The minister informed that a cushion package for domestic law firms was being worked out so that overseas law firms’ entry in the Indian market would get absorbed sans any hitch.

Deliberations with over 100 leading law firms was being carried out, persuading them not to oppose foreign law firms entry into the country. They were being promised a cushion package as per their legitimate requirements so that they could compete in a fair and free manner.

The minister, however, clarified that the consultation process with other domestic legal firms on the issue of unopposed entry of overseas legal firms into India is still on and would come to an end by December 2007. Thereafter, a regulatory mechanism would be evolved with proper level playing field in place to facilitate foreign law firms entry into India.

Advanced law institutions would be set up in India in collaboration with the best global legal institutes in UK and USA with world class faculties that can teach a combination of economics and law that will teach legal aspirants to write bilateral agreements in a manner that can resolve disputes amicably and professionally. Currently, he pointed out that India has no such institutes.

On the issue of service tax, he said the ministry would take up the issue with the finance minister for its removal, particularly on rentals accruing out of sub-letting of properties by property owners as it is pinching them the most.

He also suggested that a harsh structured tax regime is still uncalled for as it will lead to tax evasion and push for criticism and therefore the attempt of the Finance Ministry should be to generate revenues through moderate ways of tax imposition.

He was confident that India would attract healthy investment from overseas, particularly in SEZs, so long as it developed a legal framework which provided adequate opportunity to foreign lawyers to interpret investment laws for foreign investors.