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‘No Need to Resign from Job to Enroll as Lawyers,’ Bar Council of India Tells SC

3 min read

Aastha Thakur

Published on August 02, 2022 at 19:19 IST

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has taken a decision and conveyed it to the Supreme Court through an affidavit filed last week, in the wake of slew of reforms in the enrolment process.

The decision was taken in the matter related to eligibility ground for working person to take the AIBE. Hence, the BCI has resolved the issue and to make it mandatory for those who have cleared the All India Bar Exam (AIBE), but have since been involved in non-judicial/ legal work, to re-appear for the examination if they stay out of law practice for more than 5 years.

From now on, law graduates already working in some other professions do not require to resign from their respective jobs to get enrolled as lawyers. Adding that such person have to submit jobs clearance certificate within 6-months after qualifying the enrolment examination. Only after receiving such confirmation the Certificate of Practice will be issued by BCI.

The appeal was filed before the top court, when a widower employed in non-legal profession was asked to resign from her job to appear in AIBE. She challenged this eligibility criteria on ground she is the only earning member after the death of husband and it would cause financial instability and make her livelihood harder.

Then a affidavit was filed pursuant to an order passed by the top court on April 21 in a case filed by Advocate Durga Dutt concerning maintenance of standards of legal profession and legal education.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat and MM Sundresh took the affidavit on record and posted the matter for further consideration on September 27 to examine other aspects of pattern of the AIBE examination, and conduct of surprise inspection of law colleges to ensure maintenance of education standards.

In its latest affidavit filed through advocate Durga Dutt, the BCI said, “The Council after thorough deliberation and consideration of issues has accepted the suggestions made by this Court and has resolved that every State Bar Council shall have three registers – A, B and C.”

As per the latest affidavit BCI, after further deliberation, has proposed three registers in every State Bar Council in relation to those clearing the bar exam.

First one, Register A will have the names of those who have cleared the exam and been issued the certificate of practice, and continue practicing law;

Second one, Register B will have the names of those allowed by the BCI to write the AIBE on the condition that they will give up their earlier profession within six months of publication of the exam results. Further, their seniority will also be counted from the day they resign from their earlier job;

Third one, Register C will contain the names of those who have cleared the bar, but had their licenses suspended to practice other professions;

Further the affidavit also stated that committee will be constituted to ensure the working is done in delinquent manner, will also look into steps to make it more analytical than rote-memory based.

It was submitted that, “The said committee shall examine how the exam process can be one to test the skill and knowledge of a practitioner of law in a better manner not based on rote ability but on an analytical thinking process.”

For the matter of inspection of colleges, SC observed there are nearly 500 institutions imparting legal education below the standard.

The BCI took cognizance of this matter and told the top court that the surprise inspection team will comprise a former high court judge, law professors, and a member of the state bar council or any senior advocate having minimum 25 years of practice.