Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and J.B. Padiwala, J., allowed a petition which was filed praying to issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in order to quash and set aside Rule 1 and Rule 2 of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules to the extent that they prohibited the admission of a person who was otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate, but was either in full or part-time service or employment or was engaged in any trade, business or profession, as an advocate.

It is mandatory for an advocate to be enrolled as such before taking the All India Bar Examination.

As per the Bar Council of India Rules, no advocate enrolled under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 shall be entitled to practice under Chapter IV of the Advocates Act unless such Advocate successfully passes the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. The Bar Council of Gujarat has framed the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment Rules) under Section 28(2) (d) read with Section 24(1) (e) of the Advocates Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as “the Enrollment Rules”). As is mentioned in Rule 1 of the Enrollment Rules, a person who is otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate but is either in full or part-time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession is not to be admitted as an advocate. Rule 2 of the Enrollment Rules requires every person applying to be admitted as an advocate, to make a declaration in his application that he is not in full or part time service or employment and that he is not engaged in any trade, business or profession contrary to the rules of State Bar Council and of the Bar Council of India made under the Act. The writ applicant duly filled in the application form and also paid fees of Rs 16,600 as required. The writ applicant also duly declared that she is in employment. * The Bar Council of Gujarat, however, did not accept the form of the writ applicant. The writ applicant was told that the application was not accepted as the writ applicant had declared that she was in employment and that a form of only that person who makes a declaration that she is not employed either in full or part time service or employment and is not engaged in any trade, business or profession can be accepted, the writ applicant further submitted that the aforesaid rule was manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court keeping in view the interest of all passed the following interim order:

  • The writ applicant shall submit an application for enrollment on or before 09-10-2020, the copy of which is at Annexure-D to the writ application.
  • The interim order is passed only for the purpose of allowing the writ applicant to appear in the All India Bar Examination and this order shall not be treated as a permission to the writ applicant to continue with both, i.e, her employment and practice.
  • Since fees of Rs.16,600/- is already lying deposited with the Bar Council of Gujarat, the payment of further fees shall not be insisted upon. In case the current rules require deposit of fees higher than Rs.16,600/-, the writ applicant undertakes to pay such fees promptly.
  • The Bar Council of Gujarat shall accept such application and shall not require the writ applicant to resign from her current employment.
  • The Bar Council of Gujarat shall issue Provisional Enrollment Certificate to the writ applicant on or before 15-10-2020, considering that the online registration for the next All India Bar Examination closes on 17-10-2020.
  • The respondents shall permit the writ applicant to appear in the All India Bar Examination, as may be held.
  • The writ applicant undertakes that she will not practice as an advocate on the basis of the Provisional Enrollment Certificate issued to her.
  • The writ applicant shall further undertake that if after the issuance of enrollment certificate and after passing of the All India Bar Exam, if she continues to be in full or part time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession, she shall deposit her enrollment certificate with the Bar Council and shall not practice as an Advocate.
  • The writ applicant shall file undertaking in terms of this order on or before 09-10-2020.

[Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar v. Union of India, R/Special Civil Application No.  15123 of 2019, decided on 06-10-2020]


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant ahs put this story together

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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., urged the Bar Council of India to amend its Rule 5 in order to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5-year course or 3-year law course, as the case may be.

The instant petition sought a direction to respondents with regard to the admission of the petitioner in the 3-year LL.B degree course during the academic year 2019-2020.

The petitioner applied for the three years L.L.B. Degree Course under the MBC category and the petitioner on obtaining necessary cut off marks.

Petitioner at the time of counselling was informed that he was not eligible to be considered for selection on the ground that he did not satisfy requirements laid under Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules. Hence the present petition was filed.

What does Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India talk about?

Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules makes it very clear that an applicant must graduate through a regular programme conducted by a University for the purpose of being considered for admission in the 3 year Law Course.

However, the proviso, which should be considered as an exception to the main Rule, expands the eligibility. The proviso makes it clear that even the applicants who have obtained Higher Secondary or Under Graduation through Distance Education will also be eligible for admission for the 5-year course or the 3-year course, as the case may be.

Further, it has been added that a person who has not completed 10th cannot qualify for 10+2, a person who has not completed 10+2 cannot qualify for UG and a person who has not completed UG cannot qualify for PG. This is the literal meaning for the explanation appended to Rule 5 of Bar Council of India Rules

Court made the observation that as per the existing Rules, the petitioner is eligible for being considered as a candidate for the 3 year B.L Course subject to the condition that the petitioner again participates in the selection for the academic year 2020-2021 and obtains necessary cut off marks.

Bench while disposing of the petition also stated that,

Necessary changes in Rule 5 should be made to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5 year course or 3 year course, as the case may be.

In the absence of the same, persons who have not even gone to the regular school or college will get into a law college for the first time in their life and that may not be a healthy trend to maintain the quality of education in Law.

The Bar Council of India should seriously take this suggestion into consideration and make necessary changes to the Rule.

[M. Krishnakumar v. Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2017, decided on 19-08-2020]

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]

New releasesNews

EBC’s Master Guide To All India Bar Examination

Overview:

This is a comprehensive Guide for All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. This Guide has been prepared based on the examination patterns over a period of time.

The following are some of the unique features of this Guide:

  • Authoritative commentary on all the prescribed subjects in one compact volume.
  • Includes the latest case laws and statutory amendments, viz. Sabarimala caseAadhaar caseGuidelines for court functioning through video conferencing during Covid-19 pandemicre; Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018; Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018; Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2018; Personal Laws (Amendment) Act, 2019; Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019; Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019; J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019; Constitution (104th Amendment) Act, 2019; Code on Wages, 2019 and many more.
  • Includes over 2300 exam-styled multiple choice questions along with answers.

This Guide covers the following subjects:

Constitution of India

Penal Code

Criminal Procedure Code

Civil Procedure Code with Limitation Act

Evidence Act

Contract Act

Specific Relief Act

Transfer of Property Act

Negotiable Instruments Act

Family Law

Law of Tort (Including Motor Vehicles Act and Consumer Protection Law)

Public Interest Litigation

ADR including Arbitration

Administrative Law

Company Law

Environmental Law

Cyber Law

Intellectual Property Law

Labour Law

Professional Ethics (Including cases of Professional Misconduct under Bar Council of India Rules)

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Taxation Law

This Guide is indispensable for law graduates appearing for All India Bar Examination.


Buy Your Copy Soon!

ALL INDIA BAR EXAMINATION

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to postpone the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) which was scheduled for 16-08-2020, in view of COVID-19 Pandemic.

It has also extended the last date for receipt of applications to 31-08-2020.

The new date for examination will be notified later.


[Story to be updated]

Hot Off The PressNews

Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, dies at age 59.

Background

Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta was born on 24-11-1961, did matriculation from Oriental Academy, Jammu in 1976,  B.Sc with full medical subjects from G.G.M Science College, Jammu in 1982, and L.L.B. from University of Jammu.

Journey as an Advocate

Enrolled as an Advocate in Bar Council of Delhi in 1986, joined Jammu bar in the Chamber of S.S Lehar (Senior Advocate) and practised in all fields including Criminal, Civil, Revenue, MACT etc. in subordinate courts and before High Court.

Higher Judicial Service

He was selected as a direct recruit in Higher Judicial Service as District and Sessions Judge on 22-01-2004 and was posted as Additional District and Sessions Judge Doda, served as District and Sessions Judge in various Courts at Jammu, including 1st additional, 2nd additional, 3rd additional, Additional District and Sessions Judge and Principal District and Sessions Judge Jammu.

Furthermore, he also remained posted as 3rd and 4th additional District and sessions Judge Srinagar, Judicial member special tribunal, J&K at Jammu. One man-forest tribunal Jammu and Kashmir, Principal District and Sessions Judge Leh, Principal District and Sessions Judge, Rajouri.

Lastly, he was posted as Principal District and Sessions Judge, Jammu, from where elevated to permanent Judge of High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.

He took oath as a High Court Judge on 06-06-2017.


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J&K HC | Tehsildar directed to adjudicate the matter of equal bifurcation of land between the co-sharers as per relevant rules

J&K HC | Writ under Art. 226 admissible only if there is allegation of violation of a statutory duty on the part of statutory authority

J&K HC | Bail denied; no relief granted under S. 426 of J&K CrPC

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT): A Division Bench of R.K. Panda (Accountant Member) and Kuldip Singh (Judicial Member), while addressing a matter held,

“Bar Council of Delhi being engaged in safeguarding the rights, privileges and interest of the advocates, its dominating purpose is the advancement of general public utility within the meaning of Section 2(15) of the Act, as such, genuineness of its activities and object of charitable purpose is proved, thus entitled for registration under 12AA and consequent exemption under Section 80G.”

Bar Council of Delhi — Appellant sought to set aside the impugned order passed by the Commissioner of Income tax (Exemption) passed on 27th September, 2019.

Application in Form No. 10A and 10G moved by the appellant seeking registration under Section 12 AA of the Income tax Act, 1961 were rejected by CIT (E) on the grounds inter alia that since the appellant failed to furnish balance sheet and income & expenditure account for the FY 2018-19 despite called for, the conditions laid down under Section 12 AA are not satisfied and that the name of the Bar Council of Delhi does not appear in approved association/institution notified by the Government thus not a charitable institution within meaning of Section 2(15) of the Act.

Appellant approached the tribunal by filing the present appeal.

Tribunal noted that, appellant has been established with object to control, supervise, regulate or encouragement of the profession of law for which there is a separate provision in the Act as contained under Section 10(23A) of the Act for exempting its income which shall not be included in its total income.

CIT (E) proceeded to reject the application under Section 12AA and consequent exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

Question for determination in this case is:

Whether activities of the appellant – Bar Council/ professional body which is to control, supervise and regulate profession is not a charitable within the meaning of definition contained under Section 2(15) of the Act as has been held by the CIT(E)?

Supreme Court in case of CIT v. Bar Council of Maharashtra, 130 ITR 28, affirming the judgment of Bombay High Court in case of Bar Council of Maharashtra v. CIT , 126 ITR 27, held that primary and dominant purpose of an institution like the appellant is the advancement of the object of general public utility within the meaning of Section 2(15) of the Act and as such, the income from securities held by the appellant would be exempt from any tax liability under Section 11 of the Act.

Whether the CIT (E) is empowered to reject the registration and consequent exemption under Sections 12AA and 80G of the Act due to non-furnishing of financials of FY 2018-19?

When the object of the institution is proved to be charitable within the meaning of Section 2(15) of the Act, further scrutiny of the financials of the appellant are not required because it is otherwise within the purview of AO to examine at the time of assessment if the appellant is entitled to exemption under Section 11 of the Act.

In the present matter, the tribunal is thus of the opinion that the CIT (E) has erred in declining the registration under Section 12 AA of the Act on the ground that financials of FY 2018-19 have not been furnished by the appellant.

Tribunal further observed that, merely on the basis of the fact that income of the appellant exempted under Section 10(23A) is not a bar to claim deduction in assessment under Section 11 of the Act, as such income is to be excluded under Section 11 of the Act.

Hence, appeal filed by the appellant is allowed directing CIT(E) to provide registration under Section 12 AA and consequent exemption under Section 80 G of the Act. [Bar Council of Delhi v. CIT (Exemption), 2020 SCC OnLine ITAT 340 , decided on 02-07-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India notifies that all Centres of Legal Education shall follow the under mentioned guidelines:

  • Final Year students of 3 and 5 year LLB Courses may be allowed to appear for online examinations.
  • Alternatively, For Final Year students, Universities may adopt any other appropriate method which they may feel is adequate.
  • Final students who have not cleared all papers of previous years and are required to sit in supplementary examinations, but who have been promoted to final year , may be allowed to write a paper, research project or sit for online examination so that they cold pass within time.
  • All students’ except Final Year students will be promoted on the basis of previous years performance and marks obtained in the internal examination of current year. However, it is clarified that after reopening of the colleges/Universities, the Universities shall conduct the end semester examination with respect to the year from which they have been promoted, within a reasonable time, though such promoted students shall continue to study in the year to which they have been promoted, in case, they are unable to pass/clear any such paper of such end semester exam of the year from which they have been promoted, they shall have to clear same, before they granted the degree. In the case of students who have been promoted to the final year , they shall have to pass all papers in order to obtain their degree.
  • Universities must adhere to COVID-19 protocol and ensure social distancing is followed in the campus and class rooms and examination halls are properly sanitized from time to time.

Bar Council of India

[Press Release dt. 09-06-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Five Judges of the Supreme Court of India have been affected by Swine Flu which is caused by H1N1 virus. In order to curb the situation in the apex court, the following preventive measures were immediately undertaken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India:

  • The First Aid Post (FAP) of CGHS was strengthened at the Supreme Court premises.
  • All the judges were provided treatment as per the protocol. Prophylactic treatment was also given to all who have come in contact with them including their family members.
  • All five judges were kept in home isolation.  Of these, three Judges have already resumed their duty and two continue to be under home isolation/observation and are recovering.
  • The court rooms and residences are being sanitised.
  • Awareness regarding preventive measures was disseminated to all concerned.

An H1N1 sensitization workshop for lawyers and other staff members will also be conducted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India at Bar Council of India office tomorrow i.e. 26th February, 2020.

Although H1N1 is a seasonal infection which usually occurs every year with two peaks (One in January to March and other between July to September), everyone is requested to take the preventive measures such as cover your nose and mouth with a tissue/handkerchief while coughing or sneezing; wash your hands often with soap and water; avoid crowded places; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; stay away from crowded places if you have cough/cold; drink plenty of water; sleep well. In case of any symptoms, the nearest public health facility may be contacted immediately.


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Press Release dt. 25-02-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Bar Council of India passed a resolution on 22-12-2019 appealing the people of the country to maintain peace and harmony.

The Lawyers, the Bar Associations, State Bar Council, the students’ Associations of National Law Universities and all the Law Colleges should come forward, take active and positive steps to ensure that the Law and order is maintained throughout the country.

Resolution, asks the above-said to try convincing people and the common-man to enhance the feelings of brotherhood in the society.

People involved in violence should be brought to the notice of administration.

Bar requests the leaders of the Bar and young students to convince the people and the illiterate ignorant mass, who are being misled by some so-called leaders (for serving their own political ambitions) the matter with regard to Citizenship Amendment Act is under consideration of Supreme Court, therefore everyone should await the decision of Apex Court.

The damage to public or private properties, the attack on our Policeofficial/personnel or the defence personnel are very serious issues. The legal fraternity and their bodies cannot tolerate any attack on or humiliation of our forces.

Bar expressed solidarity with the police and Armed forces.


Bar Council of India

[Press Release dt. 22-12-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

In the light of the suggestions made by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Shri Bobde, the Bar Council is proposing to amend its Rule and to exercise the powers vested in it under Section-7 and 49 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

The Council is likely to introduce a mandatory experience clause for every new entrant at the Bar before joining the High Court and the Supreme Court. Before joining any High Court Bar a newly enrolled advocate will have to practice in a District/Taluka Court, at least for a period of two years. Any Advocate could join the High Court Bar now only after producing the certificate (as per the format prescribed by the Bar Council of India to be granted by an Advocate having a minimum standing of 15 years at the Bar and the concerned District Judge). No High Court Bar Associations can provide membership to any Advocate unless said experience certificate is produced along with the other materials to support the same.

Similarly, the Council is proposing to introduce the Rule for joining the Supreme Court Bar and to practice in the Supreme Court of India. A minimum of two years’ experience of practice at any High Court will be mandatory for practicing in Supreme Court. The said experience certificate shall be given by the concerned High Court Bar Association and the Registrar General of the High Court. The Council is also thinking to make a requirement for the minimum number of appearances in the Courts before the grant of the aforementioned certificates.

The Council is also proposing to make Continuous Legal Education (C.L.E.) for Advocates upto 10 years of practice “compulsory”. The concerned sitting and former Judges of High Courts, senior and experienced Advocates shall be requested to provide Training to Advocates on different clinical and non-clinical subjects for continuation in the legal profession. The participation in said Continuous Legal Education Programme will be mandatory. Over a period of 5 years, every Advocate shall be required to attend and undertake those training programme conducted by Bar Council of India and State Bar Council at least for 40 days. The training will be provided through Bar Councils without charging any fee from Advocates. The State Bar Councils and Bar Associations shall be required to grant certificates to the lawyers in this regard and only then their enrolments shall be deemed to be followed for continuation in the legal profession.

The Council has also appreciated the suggestion made by senior advocate and the legal luminary, Attorney General for India Shri K. K. Venugopal for enhancement of the age of retirement of High Court and Supreme Court Judges and to make it either 68 or 70 years. In fact, the Council has been making this demand for the last 3 years and it had sent a detailed letter to the Government in this regard.

In the joint meeting of all the State Bar Councils, all the High Court Bar Associations and major Bar Associations of the country to be held in January, 2020, all these issues will be discussed. The appropriate resolutions passed in the said joint meeting shall be sent to the Government for the necessary changes in the Constitution. The proposed changes to be made in the Bar Council of India Rules for inserting experience clause shall also be discussed in the joint meeting.


Bar Council of India

[Press Release dt. 22-11-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with the question as to whether after transfer of a disciplinary proceeding, as per the mandate enshrined under Section 36B(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 to the Bar Council of India (BCI) from the State Bar Council, can the BCI, instead of enquiring into the complaint and adjudicating thereon, send it back to the State Bar Council with the direction to decide the controversy within a stipulated time, the Court held that the legislature never intended a complaint made against an Advocate either from the perspective of the complainant or from the delinquent to be transferred to BCI, again to be sent back. It was held that BCI, while exercising original jurisdiction on transfer of a complaint, cannot exercise the appellate jurisdiction.

The Court, however, took note of the fact that on many occasions disciplinary authority of the State Bar Council does not dispose of the complaint within the stipulated period, as a consequence of which the proceeding stands transferred to the BCI. Looking down upon such practice, the Court said that once a complaint is made by a litigant, it has to follow a definite procedure and is required to be dealt with as per the command of the Act to conclude the disciplinary proceeding within a period of one year from the date of receipt of the complaint or the date of initiation of the proceedings at the instance of the State Bar Council. Not to do something what one is required to do, tantamount to irresponsibility and the prestige of an institution or a statutory body inheres in carrying out the responsibility.

The bench of Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ, hence, directed the State Bar Councils to take a periodical stock of cases in each meeting with regard to the progress of the Disciplinary Committee, find out the cause of delay and guide themselves to act with expediency so that the Council, as a statutory body, does its duty as commanded under the Act. [Ajitsinh Arjunsinh Gohil v. Bar Council of Gujarat, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 351, decided on 06.04.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the matter where the transparency in the process of designation of senior advocates was sought, the Court directed the matter to be listed in the month of February, 2017 for final hearing along with another related matter filed before the Delhi High Court.

A Writ Petition (C) No.6331 of 2016 titled National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms & Anr. Vs. Bar Council of India was filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the constitutional validity of Sections 16 and 23(5) of the Advocates Act, 1961 which provide the statutory basis for designation of lawyers as senior advocates. Hence, the Court said that if the source of power for such designation is itself under challenge it would be more appropriate to hear the matters together by transferring the petition pending in the High Court to this Court.

The 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswar Rao, JJ said that the issues touching designation of lawyers as per the prevalent procedure appears to be causing considerable dissatisfaction among a section of the bar which fact is evident from the large number of interventions made in these proceedings and an equally large number of solutions proposed at the bar for improvement of the system. [Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 3, order dated 02.01.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While considering the petitions filed under Article 226 and 227 of the High Court by petitioners who were aggrieved of rejection of their admission to LL.B. course by the BCI, the Single Bench of L. Narayana Swamy, J held that the action on the part of BCI is just, sound and proper and is in accordance with the law.

The petitioners in the present case were denied admission to LLB course on one or the other grounds. This action was alleged to be violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petitioners had questioned (i) the authority of the BCI in deciding qualification for LLB and (ii) justification of rejection of admission for the non-compliance of eligibility criteria.

This Court, while analysing the facts and circumstances of the case, in light of the powers and functions of the BCI, dismissed the petitions and upheld the power of Bar Council in regulating the eligibility criteria and said that the qualification obtained by Open University or private study, is not a qualification for the purpose of consideration. The Court also relied on the Supreme Court’s observance in Baldev Raj Sharma v. Bar Council of India,1989 Supp (2) SCC 91 to hold that the Bar Council of India is concerned with the standard of the legal profession and education in the country and is thereby empowered to set regulations for the same. [Sudha Rani K v. State of Karnataka, 2016 SCC OnLine Kar 7358, decided on 16.12.2016]