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Sebi asks law firm representing Zee founders against it to return briefs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has asked the law firm, Economic Laws Practice (ELP), to return most of the briefs given by the regulator to represent it in various cases, The Economic Times (ET) reported on Tuesday. ELP defended the founders of Zee Entertainment in a case against the regulator in the securities appellate tribunal (SAT).

“An email was sent to ELP by a senior official from the legal department of Sebi to return all the briefs given to the firm except those in advanced stages,” A person aware of the matter was quoted in the ET report as saying.

“As per Sebi rules, empanelled solicitors’ firms or advocates, except senior counsels, cannot take any brief against the regulator before any judicial forums including SAT.”

ELP has been a Sebi-empenelled firm for almost a decade. It represented the regulator in several cases in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), high courts, and even the Supreme Court.

The empanelling or revoking of the empanelment of law firms and advocates at Sebi is done through the guidelines issued by the Department of legal affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice.

Experts quoted in the report said that lawyers and law firms have a professional responsibility to represent their clients even in the case of a personal conflict.

Sebi had issued an interim order on June 12, restraining Subhash Chandra and Punit Goenka from holding any key managerial position in the company till further notice. The founders of Zee then moved to SAT to challenge the decision. Business Standard

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