Complaining against an Advocate

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

Complaints against an advocate can be with regard to professional or other misconduct by the advocate.1 Actions that qualify as ‘misconduct’ cannot be defined with an exhaustive list. What should be kept in mind is the nobility of the job of an advocate, and the high standard that is expected of advocates by society.2 Instances that are not explicitly mentioned in the law have led to disciplinary actions in the past, such as when an advocate tried to assault a client with a knife.3

Forum to Complain

The State Bar Council is the appropriate forum to lodge a complaint against an advocate.4 Upon receiving a complaint, or on its own motion, the State Bar Council can refer a case of misconduct to one of its Disciplinary Committees.5

Further, the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India also has the power to withdraw any pending proceeding from the State Bar Council and attend to the matter.6

If a case has been pending before the State Bar Council for more than a year since the receipt of complaint, the case shall be transferred to the Bar Council of India.7 If a person is not satisfied with the decision of the State Bar Council, they have the right to appeal to the Bar Council of India within 60 days of the communication of the decision.8 If the person is still aggrieved by the decision of the Bar Council of India, they can approach the Supreme Court within 60 days of the communication of the decision.9

 Procedure to complain

State Bar Councils accept complaints against an advocate in the form of a petition, duly signed and verified. If you want to find the format, you can approach your State Bar Council which will have a prescribed standard format of complaint, along with the fees. Additionally, formats used can include languages such as English, Hindi or the language of the respective State. 10

After a person submits the complaint, the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council will inquire into the matter.

Punishing an Advocate

When a complaint has been made against an advocate, the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council will give an opportunity for the advocate to defend themself. Further, the Advocate General of the State will also be present during the inquiry. After the inquiry, the Committee will either:

  1. Reprimand the advocate;
  2. Suspend the advocate for the time being;
  3. Remove the advocate’s name from the State roll;
  4. Dismiss the complaint.1
  1. Section 35, Advocates Act, 1961[][]
  2. Noratanmal Chouraria v. MR Murali & Another, Civil Appeal 5476 of 1999[]
  3. Hikmat Ali Khan v. Ishwar Prasad Arya, 1997 (3) SC 131[]
  4. Section 35(1), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  5. Section 35(1);Section 35 (1A), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  6. Section 36(2), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  7. Section 36B (1), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  8. Section 37(1), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  9. Section 38, Advocates Act, 1961[]
  10. Rule 1, Chapter 1, Part VII, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975[]

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Harshal Kakade

August 7, 2022

Complaining against an Advocate

Shamim Bano

September 10, 2022

I had an advocate as my tenant from 2017.Being away from home ,this advocate was occupying my first floor,least bothered maintain the property.Even after the expiry of agreement he continued to stay in my house,violating the terms and conditions of the agreement.Now he has vacated my property after defacing it.He has also taken away the advance amount without paying the due charges.I am an elderly lady,.I am alone with my differently abled son.Please guide me as to how to deal with this.


September 19, 2022

We’re sorry to hear about this untoward situation. Here is what you can do:

Firstly, document all the damage done to the premises and ascertain the monetary requirements for reverting the damages.

As a recourse a Legal Notice should be sent by your advocate on your behalf seeking recovery of advance amount and amount for fixing damages done to the property.

Further, a civil suit for recovery of damages caused to the property can be filed after due time is given to the tenant to repay the amount.

Note: Countersigned Rent Agreement with a stamp paper to verify the tenancy agreement and photographic evidence of damage caused to property by the tenant will be needed as valid proof to come to the suit.


October 11, 2022



October 25, 2022

A complaint against an advocate has to be in the form of a petition. It has to be duly signed and verified as required under the Code of Civil Procedure. Every complaint shall be accompanied by the fees prescribed in the Bar Council of India Rules. The complaint can be filed in English or in Hindi or in a regional language where the language has been declared to be a state language.
After a person submits the complaint, the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council will inquire into the matter. Once the Bar Council has referred the complaint to a Disciplinary Committee, the Registrar should expeditiously send a notice to the advocate. The notice will ask the concerned advocate to point out cause within a specified dateon the complaint made against him and to submit the statement of defence, documents, and affidavits in support of the defence. It will also further inform him that just in case of his non-appearance on the fixed date of hearing, the matter shall be heard and determined in his absence. An appearance usually includes the presence of an advocate or through a duly authorized representative.
Parties can appear face to face or through an advocate who should file a vakalatnama giving the name of the Bar Council, his residential address, phone number if any, and his address for service of notices.
The disciplinary committee of a State Bar Council has the power to reprimand, suspend for any specific period or remove the name of the advocate from the State roll of advocates

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