Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: P.B.Suresh Kumar, J., directed the Government Law College, Ernakulam to relax the requirement of 20 weeks internships for the fifth year law students who were unable to meet the said requirement due to pandemic.

The instant petition was filed by the fifth year law students who were undergoing Five Year integrated B.com. LLB (Hons), course from the Government Law College, Ernakulam. The course was supposed to be over in the academic year 2020-2021. In terms of Rule 24 of Schedule II to the Rules of Legal Education framed by the Bar Council of India, internship is part of the curriculum of the course. Rule 25 of Schedule III to the Rules of the Legal Education provides that each registered student shall have completed a minimum of 20 weeks internship during the period of legal studies. It is clarified, however, in the said Rule that internship in any year cannot be for a continuous period exceeding four weeks.

It was stated by the petitioners that they could complete, on an average, only 12 weeks internship during their course as none of the institutions prescribed in the Rules permitted internship during the last two years due to the outbreak of the pandemic, COVID – 19. It was also stated by the petitioners that they would not be able to complete the remaining period of their internship before culmination of the course as there would be online classes for them before the pending semester examinations. It was alleged by the petitioners that if the term of the internship provided for in the Rules was not appropriately relaxed, the petitioners would not be in a position to complete their course.

A statement has been filed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) indicating, among others, that the grievance voiced by the petitioners is genuine and the University to which the college is affiliated is free to adopt any other appropriate measures which they may feel adequate to satisfy the requirements of the course.

On the other hand, the University pointed out that insofar as the Rules of Legal Education framed by the BCI remain intact, the University might not be in a position to adopt any other method to satisfy the requirements of the course.

Rule 24 of Schedule II to the Rules of Legal Education framed by the BCI reads thus:

Moot court exercise and Internship:

This paper may have three components of 30 marks each and a viva for 10 marks.

  • Moot Court (30 Marks). Every student may be required to do at least three moot courts in a year with 10 marks for each. The moot court work will be on assigned problem and it will be evaluated for 5 marks for written submissions and 5 marks for oral advocacy.
  • Observance of Trial in two cases, one Civil and one Criminal (30 marks): Students may be required to attend two trials in the course of the last two or three years of LL.B. studies. They will maintain a record and enter the various steps observed during their attendance on different days in the court assignment. This scheme will carry 30 marks.
  • Interviewing techniques and Pre-trial preparations and Internship diary (30 marks): Each student will observe two interviewing sessions of clients at the Lawyer’s Office/Legal Aid Office and record the proceedings in a diary, which will carry 15 marks. Each student will further observe the preparation of documents and court papers by the Advocate and the procedure for the filing of the suit/petition. This will be recorded in the diary, which will carry 15 marks.
  • The fourth component of this paper will be viva voce examination on all the above three aspects. This will carry 10 marks.

 Rules 25 of Schedule III to the said Rules read, thus:

Minimum Period of Internship: 

  • Each registered student shall have completed minimum of 12 weeks internship for Three Year Course stream and 20 weeks in case of Five Year Course stream during the entire period of legal studies under NGO, Trial and Appellate Advocates, Judiciary, Legal Regulatory authorities, Legislatures and Parliament, Other Legal Functionaries, Market Institutions, Law Firms, Companies, Local Self Government and other such bodies as the University shall stipulate, where law is practiced either in action or in dispute resolution or in management. Provided that internship in any year cannot be for a continuous period of more than Four Weeks and all students shall at least gone through once in the entire academic period with Trial and Appellate Advocates.
  • Each student shall keep Internship diary in such form as may be stipulated by the University concerned and the same shall be evaluated by the Guide in Internship and also a Core Faculty member of the staff each time. The total mark shall be assessed in the Final Semester of the course in the 4th Clinical course as stipulated under the Rules in Schedule II.

After pursuing Rule 24-25 of Schedule II to the Rules of Legal Education, the Bench agreed to the contention of the students that it was made mandatory for them to undergo internship for a period of 20 weeks. The Bench stated that the fact that the petitioners could not undergo internship during the last two years for reasons not attributable to them was not disputed either by the BCI or by the University. Similarly, the fact that it was impossible for the petitioners to complete the remaining period of their internship before the culmination of their course was also not disputed either by the BCI or by the University.

The contention before the Court was that, while the BCI submitted that the University is free to adopt any other measures in the place of the period of internship not undergone by the candidates, the University took the stand that so long as the Rules of Legal Education framed by the BCI remain intact, they may not be justified in doing so.

Noticeably, the Rules of Legal Education were rules framed by the BCI in exercise of its function under Section 7(1)(h) of the Advocates Act, 1961 and that in terms of the said provision, it is the function of the BCI legal education by laying down its standards in consultation with the Universities in India and the State Bar Councils. After relying on V.Sudeer v. Bar Council of India, (1999) 3 SCC 176, the Bench was of the view that the said Rules were only suggestive of the ways and means to promote legal education and it was for the universities to make appropriate regulations prescribing the curriculum for the course, having regard to the standards prescribed by the BCI.

Noticing that the University had so far not framed any regulations prescribing the curriculum for the course and instead, they were following the Rules prescribed by the Bar Council of India as the curriculum for the course, the Bench clarified that the Rules prescribed by the Bar Council of India were only suggestive of the ways and means to promote legal education, and the same would not stand in the way of the University making appropriate changes in the curriculum in contingencies of the instant nature, especially when the competent authority for prescription of the standards of legal education, viz, BCI itself had permitted the University to do so.

Further, since the law does not contemplate a vacuum, the Bench applied the doctrine of necessity to tide over situation at hand, which permitted certain things to be done as a matter of necessity which would not otherwise countenance on the touchstone of judicial propriety. The Bench clarified that the doctrine of necessity also confers authority on the University to adopt the course suggested by the BCI so as to enable the petitioners to complete their course. Consequently, the University was directed to adopt appropriate other measures which it may feel adequate to satisfy the requirements of the course in the place of the period of internship not undergone by the petitioners and others who had been admitted for the Five Year integrated Law Degree course during the academic year 2016 – 2017 expeditiously.[Jomol John v. Bar Council of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2634, decided on 01-07-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

Counsels for the Petitioners: Adv. Amrin Fahima and Adv. Stefin Thomas

Counsels for the Respondents: Adv. Asok M. Cherian, Adv. Princy Xavier, Adv. Rajit and Adv. Surin George Iype

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India has notified the extension of date for registration of All India Bar Examination — XVI

Notification states as follows:

“The date for registration for AIBE-16 is extended till 15th July 2021, the rescheduled date for the AIBE 16 will be intimated soon. ” 


All India Bar Examination

Hot Off The PressNews

Days after the Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde objected to a Law student (appearing party-in-person before the Supreme Court) using the expression “Your Honour” for addressing the Court, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, has issued the following clarification:

A matter which was listed before the Supreme Court of India, the Chief Justice of India has been stated to be taking objection to the term “Your Honor” being used by a Law Student who was appearing as a party in person as per practice of the Superior Courts of India.

Bar Council of India with regard to the above matter clarified that as far as back on 28-09-2019 on the request made by Office-Bearers of Bar Association of some High Courts with regard to the Advocates addressing the Court, it was resolved that as per mostly preferred and prevalent practice, lawyers of the country be requested to address the Judges of various High Courts and Supreme Court as “My Lord” or “Your Lordships” or “Hon’ble Court” while Lawyers of Subordinate Courts, Tribunals and other Forums may address the Court as “Your Honor” or “Sir” or the equivalent word in respective regional languages.

The said resolution was taken by the Council in order to maintain graciousness and to uphold the majesty (i.e. impressive beauty) of the Courts of the country.


Bar Council of India

[Press Release dt. 23-02-2021]

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India has notified that AIBE XVI onwards — No books, notes or study material will be allowed in the examination hall. Candidates can only carry Bare Acts without notes.

The said notification can be accessed on the following website: https://allindiabarexamination.com

 

———————————————————————————————————–

IMPORTANT DATES FOR AIBE-XVI

-26th Dec 2020 – Online Registrations Begins.

-21st Feb, 2021 – Last date for Online Registrations

-06th March, 2021* – Release of Admit Card Online.

-21st March,2021* – All India Bar Examination-XVI in various cities across India.


All India Bar Examination

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): The Coram comprising of Ashok Kumar Gupta (Chairperson) and Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi (Members), considered whether Bar Council of India is an ‘enterprise’ under Section 2(h) of the Competition Act.

Informant filed the present information under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 alleging contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act by Bar Council of India (BCI/OP 1).

Informant worked as an executive engineer and planned to voluntarily retire to pursue legal education. He submitted that he appeared for LLB (3 years) entrance examination in the State of Andhra Pradesh and secured 1st rank in the examination.

Informant stated that BCI enjoys the dominant position in controlling legal education as well as legal practice in India.

Colourable Exercise of Power

Informant alleged that BCI has allegedly imposed maximum age restrictions upon the new entrants to enter into the legal education and thus, created indirect barriers to the new entrants in the profession of legal service.

The impugned Clause 28 has been incorporated by the BCI in contravention of Section 4 of the Act by ‘misusing its dominant position’. By having done so, the BCI has also allegedly indulged in colourable exercise of power.

With the above practice, the members of BCI conspired to reduce the competition to its electors and created indirect barriers in the profession of legal service.

Therefore, in view of the above, informant sought that the said clause be declared illegal and void ab initio and maximum penalty shall be imposed for violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act and in indulging in colourable exercise of power.

Analysis and Decision

Bench on perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case stated that it is imperative to examine the status of BCI as an enterprise within the contours of the provisions of Section 2(h) of the Competition Act before proceeding further with regard to the allegation raised.

Whether the Bar Council of India is an ‘enterprise’ under Section 2(h) of the Competition Act?

Term ‘enterprise’ has been defined under Section 2(h) of the Competition Act, as a person or a department of the Government, engaged in any activity relating to the provision of any kind of services.

Commission on going through the objective and functions of the BCI, noted that BCI appears to carry out functions which are regulatory in nature in respect of the legal profession, hence cannot be said to be an ‘enterprise’ within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the Competition Act, 2002.

In Case No. 39 of 2014, In Re: Dilip Modwil and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), decided on 12-09-2014, Commission had observed that any entity can qualify within the definition of the term ‘enterprise’ if it is engaged in any activity which is relatable to the economic and commercial activities specified therein. It was further observed that regulatory functions discharged by a body are not per se amenable to the jurisdiction of the Commission.

Therefore, in view of the above discussion, Coram opined that no prima facie case under the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act was found and no case for grant of relief as sought under Section 33 of the Act arose. [Thupili Raveendra Babu v. BCI, 2021 SCC OnLine CCI 1, decided on 20-01-2021]

Legislation UpdatesRules & Regulations

Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post-Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education), Rules, 2020

 The said Rules have been notified in light of Sections 7(1)(h), (i); (ia); (ib); (ic); (2)(b); (c); 15(1); 49(1)(af); (d); (e) with a view to strengthen legal education at each level of undergraduate, post graduate, legal research, technology & court management, continuing legal education and professional and clinical skill development courses conducted off-line and on-line.

♦ Chapter-I of the said Rules consists of the General Provisions under which Definitions and the Qualification requirement of Faculty members are covered.

♦ Chapter-II is about the Post Graduate Degree Course in Law.

Under Chapter two a very significant point has been highlighted under Rule 6 which states that One Year Master Degree to be abolished.

A Master Degree Program in Law of one year duration introduced in India in 2013(as per notification) by the University Grants Commission shall remain operative and valid until the Academic Session in which these Regulations are notified and implemented but not thereafter at any University throughout the country.

A Master degree in any specialized branch of Law offered in the Open System to any graduate, such as Business Law or Human Right, or International Trade Law without having LL.B./BA.LLB as the requisite entry-level qualification shall not be designated as Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M.) but can be designated in any other manner attracting the immediate attention of anyone that such a degree holder may not be a Law graduate.

Master’s degree in Business Law may be designated as (MBL); Master’s in Governance and Public Policy as (MGPP), Master’s in Human Rights as (MHR), Master’s in Industrial Laws (MIL) etc., which cannot be considered equivalent to LL.M.

All India Common Entrance Test

Bar Council of India (either directly or through its Trust) may annually conduct a Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) for admission in Master Degree course in Law in all Universities and until the PGCETL is introduced the present system followed by respective Universities shall be followed.

♦Chapter III consists of Rules with regard to Educational upgradation and efficiency enhancement and Professional Education.

Bar Council of India through the B. C. I. Trust shall introduce two professional efficiency enhancement continuing education courses only for Advocates who are enrolled with any State Bar Council.

Para legal/Court management Courses

 BCI Trust may conduct para-legal (including land survey work, notarization, registration and all other judicial work of court and lawyers’ chamber management) and technology & Court Management courses of suitable duration on-line and/or off-line to facilitate para-legal works and court-management to cover updated education and training.

♦ Chapter IV comprises Rules for Equivalence and Miscellany

 Equivalence of Post Graduate Degree obtained from a Foreign University

 (1) In order to qualify for test of equivalence of LL.M. degree obtained from any foreign University the Masters’ Degree in Law course must have been taken only after obtaining the LL.B. degree from any foreign or Indian University which is equivalent to the recognized LL.B. degree in India.

(2) LL.M. degree obtained from a Foreign University, which has been prosecuted without an equivalent LL.B. degree shall not be equivalent to Indian LL.M. degree such as follows:

(i) LL.B. is a three/four year first undergraduate course in which case One year or Two years of study in LL.M. in the foreign University forms part of the LL.B. program to consider the LL.B. with or without a Bridge course as equivalent to Indian LL.B.

(ii) LL.M. is obtained without having any equivalent LL.B.

(3) One year LL.M. obtained from any foreign University is not equivalent to Indian LL.M. degree. However, one year LL.M. degree obtained after an equivalent LL.B. degree from any highly accredited Foreign University may entitle the person concerned to be appointed as a visiting professor in an Indian University for at least one year so as to consider such One year LL.M. degree with one-year teaching experience as a Visiting Faculty/internee faculty/clinical faculty the Master degree obtained on one year term may be considered equivalent.

→ Read the detailed rules here: NOTIFICATION


Bar Council of India

[Notification dt. 02-01-2021]

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India decided to hold the next All India Bar Exam on 21-03-2021.

AIBE-XV is to be held on the scheduled date i.e. 24-01-2021 and there will be no change of date of All India Bar Exam-XV anymore.

For AIBE-XVI, the Online registration will start from 26-12-2020 and the last date for registration will be 21-02-2021. The last date for payment of exam fee would be 23-02-2021 and 26-02-2021 will be the final date for completion of online forms. Admit Cards shall be released online 06-03-2021 and the exam will be held on 21-03-2021.

In this way, Bar Council of India is going to hold two All India Bar Exams within a period of two months (i.e. All India Bar Exam-XV on 24-01-2021 and All India Bar Exam– XVI on 21-03-2021).


Bar Council of India

[Press Release dt. 21-12-2020]


Also Read:

Bar Council of India releases new schedule for All India Bar Examination–XV [Check New Dates]

Hot Off The PressNews

The General Council of the Bar Council of India at its meeting held on 7-11-2020 has again considered the requests received from various quarters including various Bar Associations and State Bar Councils to extend the last date for furnishing the information as per the format required by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India.

After consideration, the General Council of the Bar Council of India, has resolved to extend the last date for submission of the details of every practicing Advocate of the country sought as per the requirement of the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India, till 31-12-2020.

Individual Advocates, who have not yet submitted their details are again requested to send their details through respective Bar Associations or through respective Bar Councils under whom they are enrolled. Even earlier too, the communication by the Bar Council of India has been addressed to Bar Associations and to Bar Councils only and Individual Advocates were specifically requested not to send any email with his/her detail to BCI by email. Individual Advocates should submit their details through Bar Associations or through Bar Councils as it will not be feasible to gather such required details of Advocates if they are sent individually, and sending it through Bar Associations and Bar Councils would be appropriate and feasible.

In fact, Individual Advocates who were sending details by email to BCI have been emailed as follows:

Kindly Note again as clearly stipulated in BCI Letter bearing 1653 dated 24-7-2020, no individual member of any Bar Association should send an email to this email id.

We are going to receive mails from many Bar Associations throughout the Country and Bar Associations are expected to send it over to us as per the attached Format.

Therefore, details as per the format attached should only be furnished by the concerned Bar Associations and not by Individual Advocates.

Kindly also find attached the afore referred letter sent by BCI to all Bar Associations through respective Bar Associations. If your Bar Association has yet not received the format and the above-referred letter of BCI, please provide a copy to them.

Kindly furnish us with the email id, phone nos., whatsapp nos. of either President or Secretary of such Bar, so that we can also send such information directly to them.

We repeat, individual emails are not to be sent on this email id with respect to information sought as per above referred BCI letter and chart.

The Bar Associations are required to be more active, as the details which have been sought, may not all be available with the State Bar Councils as the enrolment form which is generally filled up at the time of enrolment, does not have all the columns/details sought as per the prescribed format of the e-committee of the Supreme Court of India, and therefore the onus would be on Advocates and also on the Bar Associations as well as obviously on the State Bar Councils to ensure that details, as sought in prescribed format, is supplied.

It goes without saying that the Bar Council of India being the Statutory body to regulate legal profession and legal education has the right and discretion to reach out to any Bar Association, Bar Council and Individual Advocates too, and to issue general and specific directions and Bar Councils, Advocates, Bar Associations being an association of Advocates only are also bound to abide by such directions.

The Bar Council of India has been receiving queries from many quarters as to whether furnishing the required information as per the prescribed format is mandatorily required to be provided to the Bar Associations and/or the Bar Councils on letterheads of concerned Advocates or not and secondly, whether such information, which is being submitted has to bear the signatures of the Advocate/s furnishing such information or not as many Advocates were facing issues in this respect.

In response to the same, it is stated that it is not mandatory to furnish the information on letterheads and furthermore if the information is being sent by email to the concerned Bar Associations and/or to the Bar Councils, then it may not be possible to append the signatures on the prescribed format as that would entail taking a print out of the format, signing the same, scanning the same and thereafter uploading the same, which may not be feasible for many. Therefore, it is made clear herein that under such circumstances, it is not mandatory to append signatures while furnishing the information by email, if the same is not feasible.

It is reiterated here again that this scheme/proposal is for the benefit of all the Advocates. The Supreme Court has devised a method of communication with the Bar in 22 different regional languages of the country; the e-Committee has also been training the Lawyers for e-filings, virtual hearings etc. other necessary information/reports shall also be made available to Advocates.

It is also made clear that supplying details of advocates who are Members of respective Bar Associations/respective State Bar Councils will serve fruitful purpose to have the correct information about the enrolled Advocates all over India as per the format prescribed by e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India.

It is made clear that there shall be no further extensions granted and any Advocate or Bar Association who/which does not cooperate in this endeavour, shall be liable for suitable action.

All-State Bar Councils and All the Bar Associations are also required to ensure strict compliance of this letter.

This is for your kind information and necessary compliance.


Bar Council of India

Circular dt. 12-11-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India releases new schedule for AIBE — XV

ACTIVITY

IMPORTANT DATES

Online Registration had began from 16-05-2020
Bank Payment through challan started from 16-05-2020
Online registration extended till 03-12-2020
Last date for payment 10-12-2020
Last date for completion of online form 15-12-2020
Online release of admit cards 05-01-2021
Date of Examination 24-01-2021

Bar Council of India

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Mukta Gupta, J., refused to stay the suspension of Ashok Arora from the post of Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association stating that no prima facie case was made out by the Secretary.

Decree of Declaration

Plaintiff by way of the present application sought an interim injunction staying the Executive Committee of Supreme Court Bar Association — defendant 1’s resolution whereby the plaintiff was suspended from functioning as Secretary of defendant 1.

Termination

Plaintiff contended that in terms of Rules 35 of the Supreme Court Bar Association Rules, only the General Body of the defendant 1 Association is competent to suspend or terminate the membership of defendant 1 Association and thus the decision of the Executive Committee’s decision of suspending the plaintiff is illegal and non-est.

Further, he also challenged the Coram of the Executive Committee which passed the impugned resolution on the ground that most of the members of the said meeting were interested parties and the neutral members were less than 5, hence their decision cannot be binding.

Plaintiff relied on the decision of Khwaja Nazir Ahmed v. King Emperor, AIR 1936 PC 253 and S.P. Chengalvarya Naidu v. Jagannath, (1994) 1 SCC 1.

Bar Council of India

Counsel for the Bar Council of India (BCI) stated that, BCI generally avoids interfering in the functioning of the affairs of any Bar Association but given the extreme circumstances in the present case,  BCI took notice of the complaints/events received by it and since the issue has a far-reaching effect in relation to the working of the Bar Associations of the Country, took the conscious decision and passed the resolution dated 10-05-2020.

Supreme Court Bar Association

SCBA contended that Bar Associations of various District Courts, High Courts or Supreme Court are independent bodies and their actions are not subject to the jurisdiction of BCI.

Analysis & Decision

Rule-35 of the SCBA Rules relates to the suspension or expulsion of a member of the SCBA as a member of the said Association.

Rule-35 of the SCBA Rules has no application to the suspension/termination of the status/position of a member of SCBA as an office-bearer of its Association.

Vide the impugned order plaintiff has not been either suspended or expelled as a member of the SCBA.

The plaintiff continues to be the member of SCBA and by the impugned resolution has been directed to not act in his capacity as the Secretary of the SCBA.

Bench found no merit in the present matter since the basis of the plaintiff’s case was on the violation of Rule-35 of the SCBA Rules, but the present matter is not covered by Rule 35.

As noted above Rule-35 of the SCBA Rules having no application to the facts of the case, defendant 1 Association has proceeded under Rule-14.

If the allegations of the plaintiff are that the acts of some of the members of the Executive Committee of SCBA are mala fide then the said allegations are required to be raised specifically and parties against whom mala fides are alleged are required to be impleaded as defendants in the suit. The seven members of the Executive Committee have not been impleaded as parties.

No prima facie case was made out by the plaintiff and hence the application was dismissed. [Ashok Arora v. SCBA, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1289, decided on 06-10-2020]

Advocates for the plaintiff: Arun Batta, Neha Kumari and Abdul Vahid.

Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam with Advocate Ankit Banati for SCBA.

Advocates, Rajdipa Behura and Preet Pal for BCI.

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India

The General Council of the Bar Council of India, as a last and final opportunity, has resolved to extend the last date for submission of the details of every practicing Advocate of the country sought as per the requirement of the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India till 15-11-2020.

Further, the Council made it clear that no further extensions shall be granted and any Advocate or Bar Association who/which does not cooperate in this endeavor shall be dealt with firmly.

The State Bar Councils are also required to ensure the strict compliance of the above-stated.


Bar Council of India

[Letter dt. 29-09-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

New Schedule for All India Bar Examination (AIBE) — XV is as follows:

Activity Important Dates
Online registration begins from

 

16th May, 2020*

 

Bank payment through challan starts from

 

16th May, 2020*

 

Online registration close

 

17th October, 2020*

 

Last date for payment

 

20th October, 2020*

 

Last date for completion of online form

 

24th October, 2020*

 

Online release of admit cards

 

31st October, 2020*

 

Date of Examination

 

8th November, 2020*

 

*Council reserves the right to extend the said examination date in case of unavoidable circumstances.

NOTICE


All India Bar Examination

[Notice dt. 27-08-2020]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Due to increased groupism in the Bar Councils, on many occasions Bar Council of India has been receiving complaints and a very anomalous situation arises some times.

Because of some impractical rule of some states, the situation in some of the State Bar Council leads to unwanted groupism, resulting in an unhealthy atmosphere and inefficient functioning of the State Bar Councils.

Only in the recent past, Bar Council of India has found that in Odisha, there was abstention from Court work by Advocates for about 2 months due to some petty issue. This was the result of group politics in the State Bar Council.

BCI has received several complaints with regard to the manhandling of Chairman of one State Bar Council and he was compelled to resign.

During the last elections of State Bar Councils and Bar Council of India, the reports of corrupt practices for removal of some honest members and office-bearers (who did not succumb to undue pressure of members of State Bar Councils or member of Bar Council of India), has also been noticed.

In some of the State Bar Councils, the Office-Bearers were changed frequently and they were compelled to resign without completing their tenure (as per the Rules of Bar Councils) only on account of unwarranted and malicious fear of “No-Confidence Motions”.

In view of the above, BCI deemed it proper to frame uniform mandatory Rules in this regard for the fair, smooth and fearless functioning of Bar Councils and Bar Council of India. These Rules are mandatory for Bar Council of India and all the State Bar Councils.

Bar Council of India is to provide for the elections of its members, as contained in Section-7 of the Advocates’ Act, 1961.

Therefore, BCI has the sole authority to frame rules for removal of its members by bringing “No-Confidence Motion” against its Members, if required under these rules.

In accordance with the resolution,

  • Motion of No Confidence against any office-bearer or member of Bar Council of India can be brought by a requisition submitted by 2/3rd Members of the Bar Council of India. If the proposed motion is to be brought against the Chairman, the same will be addressed to the Vice-Chairman of the Council and in all other cases, it will be addressed to the Chairman. The Chairman or Vice-Chairman (as the case may be) shall notify the meeting of the General Council within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the application. The Secretary shall place the notice before the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman, as the case may be, within a period of two days from the date of receipt of this in the office.
  • Motion of no confidence can be brought only on the ground of some proved misconduct.

Read the detailed notification here: NOTIFICATION


Bar Council of India

[Notification dt. 14-08-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India introduces Mediation with Conciliation as a compulsory subject to be taught with effect from the Academic Session 2020-2021 in 3 years and 5-year LL.B Degree.

BCI directs all the universities to incorporate the above-stated subject as a compulsory paper from the Academic Session 2020-2021.

In times of pandemic and Covid-19, when physical hearings in courts are suspended and norms of social distancing are required to be maintained, Mediation as a tool for conflict resolution has come to the fore. Litigants have been drawn towards Mediation and have begun to realize it’s immense benefits.

Mediation and Conciliation has been seen to lead to resolutions without undergoing arduous trials and moreover resolutions/solutions are arrived at, at a relatively lesser time.

Further BCI states that the teachers for such programs must be trained adequately. The qualification of teachers required to teach Mediation with Conciliation shall be decided by the Bar Council of India in consultation with any authority/institution as it may deem fit including U.G.C. For the moment, applications may be invited from the lawyers having at least 10 years of practice with theoretical knowledge and practical experience in these subjects, inclusive of trained Mediators/Conciliators, and from persons having 2-years LL.M Degrees in these subjects.

Training will also be introduced by the Bar Council of India, in the near future and subsequently, such certificate/ Diploma holders would be preferred for being appointed as Teachers for teaching the subject of Mediation and Conciliation.

Read the detailed Circular, here: Mediation_Mandatory_Bar_Council_Course


Bar Council of India

[Circular dt. 13-08-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has sought response from the Bar Council of India on a plea seeking measures for women lawyers such as safety in courts, maternity benefits and the old age pension.

The bench issued notice to the BCI and its chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra on the PIL, filed by advocate Indu Kaul, which listed out incidents of sexual harassment against women lawyers in different court premises including the Delhi High Court and the trial courts.

The plea sought formulation of social security measures by the apex bar body in coordination with state bar councils to ensure that women lawyers are strengthened.

“The chamber blocks in the court premises have no police person deployed. Male and female rest rooms which have common wall are often found poorly lit which again makes it vulnerable for lady advocates when they use the facility,”

The petition said their safety and security ought to be made the “first priority” in the legal profession where gender disparity cannot be “overlooked”.

“Gender disparity cannot be overlooked in the legal profession where any successful lady advocated is attributed motives for her success which can be as hurting as her character assassination. Safety and security ought to be made the first priority. Lady advocates will withhold themselves from contesting elections of bar associations and bar councils as her male colleagues envy her success from the very first day,”

It further said that as per BCI Model Scheme, at the retirement age of 60 years, a lady lawyer’s position becomes pitiable as her practice diminishes due to poor health and her family still nourishes the impression that being an advocate she must be capable of earning her livelihood. Through social security measures there must be a provision for pension when she opts out of active practice.

It also mentioned the death of Darvesh Yadav, the first woman chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Bar Council who was shot dead by a male colleague in the premises of Agra district court last month. Instead of compensating Yadav’s family out of its own Advocate Welfare’ Fund, issued a press release demanding the compensation from the State Government.

The plea also submitted,

“Bar Councils from different states and BCI collect a huge amount of money on the sale of Advocates’ Welfare Stamp affixed mandatorily on every Vakalatnama irrespective of the fact that the case is criminal, jail petition, of women, old and indigent persons and/or PIL. … BCI as a statutory body is bound to formulate social security measures for providing financial assistance which is a part of it as a body corporate to bear the corporate social responsibility.”

(Source: PTI)

Supreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing as to which authority has the power to recognize that the qualification is an equivalent qualification to a graduate degree for the purpose of taking admission in the course of graduate degree in Law, a bench of M.Y. Eqbal and A.M. Sapre JJ., upheld the decision of the High Court that such a power vests with the Bar Council and not any other professional/ academic body.

In the instant case, the Court firstly dealt with the question as to whether the professional course i.e., Licentiate of the Court of Examiners in Homoeopathy Medicines (LCEH) is equivalent to a graduation degree. The Court held that as per Section 13 of the Homoeopathy Central Council Act 1973, the medical qualifications granted by a university/ board/ institution included in the Second Schedule shall be recognized as medical qualifications only for the purpose of the Act and not for any other purpose, and therefore LCEH is not a bachelor degree but it is only a qualification to practice in homoeopathy medicine.

Secondly, the Court dealt with the question as to whether the decision of professional/ academic body shall be binding on the Bar Council to decide whether the qualification is equivalent qualification to a graduate degree for the purpose of admission in the course of graduate degree in law, and observed that various provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 i.e., Section 7, 24 (1)(c)(iii) Section 49 (1); (d) and Rule 1(1)(c) in Part IV of the Rules thereunder makes it evidently clear that the BCI has the power to recognize universities, whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrollment as an advocate and that BCI is empowered to make Rules to prescribe standards for recognition of degrees.

The Court observed that pursuing law and practicing law are two different things. One can pursue law but for the purpose of obtaining license to practice, he or she must fulfill all the requirements and conditions prescribed by the Bar Council of India. The Court dismissed the appeal and concluded that the BCI does not find the professional course LCEH to be equivalent to a graduate degree, and therefore the appellant was denied the enrollment as an advocate, however the LL.B. degree secured by the appellant was not be withdrawn. Archana Girish Sabnis v. Bar Council of India2014 SCC OnLine SC 943decided on November 26, 2014.

Foreign Legislation

The Bar Council of India approved the BCI Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014 on October 17, 2014. The major concern was to weed out the advocates who have switched to the other profession/ services/ business and whose names continue to be found on the rolls of State Bar Councils, sometimes even longer after their death. The objective of the Rules is to lay down some conditions for practicing law in different courts so as to give due weightage and credence to experience. The Rules proposes that an advocate, who is entitled to practice law, is required to hold a valid “certificate of practice” and registration as a member of the Bar Association recognized under the law. The Rule limits minimum experience to practice law in various courts and states that the new advocates shall start practice only before the Court of law which is equivalent to the Court of Session Judge/ District Judge/ Original jurisdiction and all other courts which are subordinate to them. The Rule also states that unless an advocate has acquired the experience of working before the lower courts and tribunals for 2 years, and before the High Court and such other courts exercising appellate or revisional jurisdiction and all other courts which are subordinate to them for 3 years respectively, they would not be entitled to practice law before the Supreme Court of India. The Rule also provides procedures to apply for grant/ renewal of “Certificate of Practice” of Advocates, which is looked after by the Administrative Committee and is scrutinized for want of bonafide intent to practice law. Any “Certificate of Practice” is valid for a period of five years from the date of its issuance /renewal, and is required to be renewed after the expiry of the said period. In case of failure of making an application for issuance / renewal of the “Certificate of Practice” within the stipulated time, it is presumed that such an advocate has left law practice and that he/she has no bonafide intent and interest in continuing it in future, and his/ her name is added in the list of “Non practicing Lawyers”, who are not entitled to practice law or to vote in any elections of Bar Associations and to other privileges and rights under Welfare Schemes of BCI. The aggrieved “Non-Practicing Advocates” may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal. The Bar Council of India exercises revisionary power and may call for the record of any proceeding to satisfy that none of the order prejudicially affects the advocates.