Delhi HC Directed BCI to Consider Having ‘Pre-Set Schedule’ for Conduct of AIBE to Resolve Issue of Uncertainty of Exam Date

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 05 December 2022 at 18:32 IST

The Delhi High Court directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to give detailed information regarding the next scheduled date of All India Bar Examination (AIBE), which was conducted last on October 30, 2021.

The single bench division Justice Pratibha M Singh suggested the BCI to consider having a “pre-set schedule” for conduct of AIBE so that the uncertainty among candidates regarding the dates of the biannual examination can be sort and provisionally enrolled advocates have enough time to prepare for it.

This year the AIBE examination has been not conducted so far, therefore the court clarified that Rule 9 of All India Bar Examination Rules would not be operational qua such advocates who are unable to clear their examination within the period of two years of their provisional enrolment.

As per the Rule, the advocate has to be enrolled under the Advocates Act, 1961 for practice, by passing AIBE exam conducted by BCI. The exam is to be cleared by advocate within two years after getting enrolled provisionally.

The plea was filed by a lawyer Nishant Khatri, who got enrolled with the Delhi Bar Association in 2019. He was yet to pass the AIBE exam, hence he was seeking relief under Rule 9 from getting debarred from practising in courts due to the non-conduct of the AIBE examination.

The counsel representing BCI asserted that the delay in conducting the AIBE was due to the change in conducting agency. But the counsel informed the court that the notification was probably going to be issued soon.

Taking in account the delay from the BCI in exam conduction, Justice Singh clarified that the petitioner-lawyer would not be debarred or disqualified from continuing to rely upon his provisional registration and appearing before the courts till further orders.

“It is accordingly clarified that the petitioner shall not stand debarred from appearing in courts till further orders,”

When the court questioned the defence counsel regarding the position of such advocates who are unable to give exam within 2 years and regarding their right to practice, the counsel submitted that he would like to seek appropriate instructions in the matter.

The court noted that while the exam has to be cleared within two years from the date of provisional enrolment, a large number of advocates whose two-year period would be coming to an end or may have come to an end this year “face the threat of debarment due to non-conduct of AIBE in terms of Rule 9.”

The court argued that the Supreme Court’s order from August 2 shows clearly that the BCI had declared that the syllabus will be published within 15 days and that the exams would be held three months later.

Still, the court directed that, “Let a status report be filed by BCI giving the next date for conduct of AIBE. The BCI should also consider having pre-set schedule for conduct of AIBE so that the uncertainty can be resolved and provisionally enrolled advocates can prepare for appearing in AIBE accordingly,” the court ordered.

The matter is listed for hearing on January 6, 2023.

Case Title: Nishant Khatri v. BCI

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