The Bar Council of India (BCI) was recently asked by the Supreme Court of India (SCI), whether they have the adequate backing to hold the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) in the country. AIBE is the central examination conducted by BCI, for selecting eligible law students to practice in a court.
According to a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit, “A Committee appointed by the SC had recommended amendments to the Advocates Act before conducting such an examination. But you (BCI) went ahead with the AIBE merely on the basis of a resolution. You can make rules and regulations to stop malpractices by advocates. But to make clearing of an examination mandatory for a law graduate to be able to practice is like negating a lawyer’s right to appear in court?” It further asked, “You are a body which is regulating advocates and yet you have no answers. Are you a law unto yourself?” The bench further asked the BCI Counsel Ardhendumauli Prasad to come prepared in the next court hearing with answer to these questions.
In its 184th report to the government, the Law Commission of India had recommended amendment of the UGC Act for setting a ‘Legal Education Committee’ and amend the Advocates Act in 2002, to set up a similar committee by BCI. According to the recommendations made by the Commission, “a law graduate shall get training from advocates having 10 years’ experience in courts and should also qualify bar exam before being allowed to practice.”