Lawyers strike work opposing service tax

NEW DELHI - Lawyers in district courts of the capital observed strike Thursday to oppose the imposition of service tax on law firms.

Around 20,000 lawyers in Delhi abstained from work paralyzing the lower courts.

No advocate appeared in the cases in Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Dwarka courts.

The cases listed for the day were adjourned, a Delhi Bar Association office bearer said.

The lawyers of India will not tolerate any attempt by the government to impose service tax on the legal fraternity and shall adopt all peaceful means to oppose such uncalled and unwarranted taxes, the coordination committee of All Bar Associations of Delhi said in a statement.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has in the budget for 2009-10 proposed service tax on advice, consultancy or technical assistance provided in the field of law.

The lawyers argue that the legal profession cannot be considered a trade or business.

“The government seems to be under the impression that the advocates’ profession is a commercial activity. The profession of law is a most noble and pious one meant to advance the promotion of administration of justice,” said Ved Prakash Sharma, chairman of the the Bar Council of Delhi.

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