Published on: September 22, 2022 at 22:11 IST
On September 27, 2022, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing petitions challenging the legitimacy of the All India Bar Examination, among other things.
The five-judge panel, which was made up of Justices S.K. Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, AS Oka, Vikram Nath, and JK Maheshwari, asked Senior Advocate Mr. KV Vishwanathan and Attorney General Mr. K.K. Venugopal to support the panel.
Justice Kaul noted that a Division Bench led by him issued instructions encouraging BCI to reflect on the current mechanism to conduct the bar examination, the quality of the said examination, the quality of legal aid, and other issues in a petition titled Bar Council Of India vs. Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar & Ors., which challenged a judgement of the Gujarat High Court that permitted people with other employment—whether full-time or part-time—to enrol as attorneys without resigning from their jobs.
The Bench had requested that they be included in the compilation because the decision made on the aforementioned subject would be extremely important in the current proceedings.
In addition, Justice Kaul believed that Mr. Vishwanathan, the Amicus Curiae named in the case of Bar Council of India vs. Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar & Ors., could offer important insights into different facets of the current proceedings.
Mr. Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, an attorney representing BCI, described how the problem came to be before the Constitution Bench.
The Bar Council Training Rules, 1995, were created by BCI, and pre-enrollment training was implemented.
In Sudeer vs. Bar Council of India & Anr. (1999), 3 SCC 176, the same was contested.
The Pre-Enrollment training was ruled to be outside the scope of the Bar Council’s authority by the Apex Court, which invalidated the ruling. The All India Bar Examination was subsequently implemented by BCI in 2010 and challenged before the Supreme Court.
The following issues, which the Constitution Bench must evaluate, arise from the aforementioned challenge:
(1) Whether Pre-enrollment training in terms of Bar Council of India Training Rules, 1995 framed under Section 24(3)(d) of the Advocates Act, 1961 could be validly prescribed by the Bar Council of India and if so whether the decision of this Court in Sudeer vs. Bar Council of India & Anr. [(1999) 3 SCC 176)] requires reconsideration.
(2) Whether a pre-enrollment examination can be prescribed by the Bar Council of India under the Advocates Act, 1961.
(3) In case questions Nos.1 and 2 are answered in the negative whether a post-enrollment examination can be validly prescribed by the Bar Council of India in terms of Section 49(1)(ah) of the Advocates Act, 1961.