Big Four accounting firms Ernst & Young and KPMG have responded to the Bar Council of Delhi’s decision to ban them from practicing law in India, denying allegations made by the country’s Law Society president.
The duo have hit back after claims made by president Lalit Bhasin that they practice law in India were upheld by the Bar Council, which wrote to EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC last week to bar them from practicing law.
The council also requested the accountants provide details of all their lawyers.
KPMG and EY have now hit back against the decision. KPMG said in a statement to The American Lawyer affiliate Legal Week that it denies the allegations as “completely baseless” and “incorrect.”
Bhasin first made a complaint to the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) in 2015.
“We maintain our response provided to BCD for the same complaint raised in 2015 by the complainant,” KPMG said in its statement. “In our response, we specifically stated that the firm does not represent or hold itself out to be a legal firm or a firm of lawyers or legal experts, nor is it engaged in the practice of law.
“Given the matter is baseless and incorrect, we would refrain from commenting on it further.”
EY has also said it will defend itself against the claims. Its statement to Legal Week said: “We have received the enquiries from the Bar Council of Delhi following the complaint filed by the Society of Indian Law Firms. We deny the allegations in the claim and will strongly defend.”
Last year, the Supreme Court of India ruled that foreign law firms are not permitted to establish permanent offices in the country, but that they are allowed to advise on non-Indian law matters on a temporary basis.
A hearing is set to take place on July 12. Bhasin declined to comment in response to EY and KPMG’s responses to Legal Week until then.
PwC declined to comment for this article and Deloitte did not respond to requests for comment.