Senior general counsel came together to launch the General Counsels’ Association of India (GCAI) at an event organised at Gurugram in March.
“The idea of GCAI was mooted a few years ago as a need was felt to institutionalise the profession to cater to industry needs,” says Sanjeev Gemawat, executive director – legal, and group company secretary at Dalmia Bharat.
One of the main goals of the association is to bring statutory recognition for the profession.
“The first and foremost outcome of statutory recognition would be that in-house counsel/GCs would be part of a professional body, which would set rules of professional conduct. [They] can then appear in judicial and quasi-judicial forums,” Gemawat said.
There would also be applicability of attorney-client privilege to in-house counsel. “Information shared with in-house counsel shall not be subject to discovery in litigation proceedings – i.e., disclosure to the adversarial party in litigation,” he says.
To this effect, GCAI is in the process of initiating discussions at various government and judicial platforms. “It gives us immense pleasure that not only the industry but also noted legal luminaries including Supreme Court and high court judges are supporting this cause,” says Gemawat.
Besides Gemawat, other senior GCs at the event were Akhil Prasad from Boeing India; Manjaree Chowdhary from Maruti Suzuki; Tejal Patil from OYO; Sameet Gambhir from DCM Shriram; Manish Lamba from DLF; Parvesh Kheterpal from Feedback Infra; Amit Gupta from Group ICRA; and Sameer Chugh, who recently departed Bharti Group.
The event was also attended by former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Mahaveer Singhvi, a joint-secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs.
GCAI is working on formulating its structure, and the constitution of the governing council and advisory board. The body also plans to begin taking membership applications from GCs working in India.