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Gujarat High Court on Attorney-Client Privilege in context of search and seizure operations under tax laws

Attorney-client privilege is an old concept under common law and the same is codified under Sections 126 and 129 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 – the key aspects of which are encapsulated below:

(i) Unless a client specifically permits, a lawyer can neither disclose any communication made to him or any advice given by him to the client in the course of his employment as a lawyer nor can he disclose the contents or condition of any document that he has become acquainted with in the course of and for the purpose of his employment as a lawyer for the said client.

Similarly, a client shall not be compelled to disclose to a court/ comparable authority, any confidential communication which has taken place between such client and his lawyer.

(ii) However, there are two prominent exceptions to the foregoing:

(a) any communication made “in furtherance of any illegal purpose”, and

(b) any fact observed by such lawyer “in the course of his employment as such, showing that any crime or fraud has been committed since the commencement of his employment.”

Source: Barandbench

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