Bar Council of India
भारतीय विधिज्ञ परिषद
|Statutory body overview|
|Statutory body executive||K K Manan, Chairman|
|This article is part of a series on|
|Judiciary of India|
|Law of India|
The Bar Council of India is a statutory body established under the Advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India. Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents the Indian bar. It prescribes standards of professional conduct, etiquettes and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar. It also sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as a qualification for students to enroll themselves as advocates upon graduation.
Prior to India becoming an independent country and being a republic, Indian Bar Councils Act 1926 regulated the legal practice in India and provided for state level bar councils. After the Constitution of India came into force in 1950, the Inter-University Board passed a resolution emphasizing the need for an all-India bar and the importance of uniformly high standards for law examinations in different universities. In May 1950, the Madras Provincial Lawyers Conference, held under the presidency of S. Varadachariar, resolved that a committee appointed by the Government of India should evolve a scheme for an all-India bar and amend the Indian Bar Councils Act 1926 such that it conforms to the new constitution. In April 1951, Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, a Member of Parliament, proposed a private member bill to amend the India Bar Councils Act. The Government of India concluded that it was necessary for the Government to sponsor the bill. In August 1951, a committee of inquiry was set up to consider the feasibility of a unified bar in India, the continuance or abolition of the dual system of counsel for each state, possibility of a separate Bar Council for the Supreme Court of India and the revision of enactments related to the legal profession.
In March 1953, the 'All India Bar Committee', headed by S. R. Das, submitted a report which proposed the creation of a bar council for each state and an all-India bar council as an apex body. It was suggested that the all india bar council should regulate the legal profession and set the standard of legal education. The Law Commission of India was assigned the job of assembling a report on judicial administration reforms. In 1961, the Advocates Act was introduced to implement the recommendations made by the 'All India Bar Committee' and 'Law Commission'. M. C. Setalvad and C. K. Daphtary were the first chairman and vice chairman respectively. In 1963, C. K. Daphtary became the Chairman and S. K. Ghose became the Vice Chairman.
Section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961 lays down the Bar Council’s regulatory and representative mandate. The functions of the Bar Council are to:
- Lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates.
- Lay down procedure to be followed by disciplinary committees
- Safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates
- Promote and support law reform
- Deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred by a State Bar Council
- Promote legal education and lay down standards of legal education.
- Determine universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrollment as an advocate.
- Conduct seminars on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest.
- Organize and provide legal aid to the poor.
- Recognize foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for admission as an advocate.
- Manage and invest funds of the Bar Council.
- Provide for the election of its members who shall run the Bar Councils.
- organize and provide legal aid to the scheduled cast.
As per the Advocates Act, the Bar Council of India consists of members elected from each state bar council, and the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General of India who are ex officio members. The members from the state bar councils are elected for a period of five years.
The council elects its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman for a period of two years from amongst its members. Assisted by the various committees of the Council, the chairman acts as the chief executive and director of the Council.
|No.||Name of the Member||Position|
|1||Biri Singh Sinsinwar||Chairman|
|2||Bhoje Gowda S.L.||Vice-chairman|
|3||Apurba Kumar Sharma||Chairman, Executive Committee|
|4||Dinesh Pathak||Vice-Chairman, Executive Committee|
|5||Vijay Bhatt||Managing Trustee, BCI Trust|
|6||Manan Kumar Mishra||Member|
|7||Zafar Ahmed Khan||Member|
|9||Ashok Kumar Deb||Member|
|10||Attorney General of India||ex-officio member|
|11||Solicitor General of India||ex-officio member|
|14||Rajinder Singh Rana||Member|
|15||Satish Abarao Deshmukh||Member|
|16||T. S. Ajith||Member|
|19||Rameshchandra G. Shah||Member|
|20||Bhoj Chander Thakur||Member|
|21||Raj Mohan Singh||Member|
Biri Singh Sinsinwar is the present Chairman. He was preceded by Manan Kumar Mishra who had succeeded Ashok Parija who in turn had succeeded Gopal Subramaniam who laid down office upon his elevation as Solicitor General of the country.
Enrollment of advocates
Eligible persons having a recognised law degree are admitted as advocates on the rolls of the state bar Councils. The Advocates Act, 1961 empowers state bar councils to frame their own rules regarding enrolment of advocates. The Council’s enrollment committee may scrutinize a candidate’s application. Those admitted as advocates by any state bar council are eligible for a 'Certificate of Enrolment' after qualifying the All India Bar Examination which is a bar qualifying exam conducted by the BCI.
The Bar Council of India has various committees which make recommendations to the council. The members of these committees are elected from amongst the members of the Council.
Executive Committee: This committee deals with the issues related to management of funds, affairs of the staff, accounts, allotment of work, management of council's affairs, audit, library and legal publications delegation of work.
- Legal Education Committee: This committee make recommendations to the BCI on matters related to legal education and sets standards of legal education, visits and inspects universities, recommend the pre requisites for foreign advocates practicing law in India, recommend recognition or discontinuance of a law degree from a university etc.
- Disciplinary Committee: This committee reviews applications by persons against summary dismissal of their complaints against advocates for professional misconduct, by the state bar councils and appeals against orders of the disciplinary committees of the state bar councils.
- Advocate Welfare Committee: This committee looks into applications made by advocates for welfare funds. It verifies the application and provides funds. The Advocates Welfare committee is certified by the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2001.
- Legal Aid Committee: The Legal Aid Committee provides aids to those requiring legal assistance.
- Building Committee: The Building Committee is responsible for setting up offices for the Council.
- Rules Committee: The Rules Committee reviews the rules and regulations of the Council.
Other than these, there are Finance Committee, Special or Oversee Committee and All India Bar Examination Committee.
Directorate of Legal Education
The Bar Council of India has established a Directorate of Legal Education for the purpose of organizing, running, conducting, holding, and administering the following:
- Continuing Legal Education
- Teachers training
- Advanced specialized professional courses
- Education program for Indian students seeking registration after obtaining Law Degree from a Foreign University
- Research on professional Legal Education and Standardization
- Seminar and workshop
- Legal Research
- Any other assignment that may be assigned to it by the Legal Education committee and the Bar Council of India.
All India Bar Examination
On April 10, 2010, the Bar Council of India resolved to conduct an All India Bar Examination that tests an advocate’s ability to practice law. It is required for an advocate to pass this examination to practice law. This examination is held biannually and tests advocates on substantive and procedural law. The syllabi for this examination has to be published at least three months before the examination. An advocate may appear for the examination any number of times. Once the advocate passes the examination, he/she will be entitled to a Certificate of Practice law throughout India.
- "About the Bar Council of India". Bar Council of India. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "The Indian Legal Profession". President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Advocates Act, 1961". Parliament of India. 1961. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926". Parliament of India. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "History of Bar Council of India". Bar Council of Indai. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Office bearers of the Bar Council of India". Bar Council of India. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Committees of Bar Council of India". Bar Council of India. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "All India Bar Examination (AIBE)". Bar Council of India. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "All India Bar Exam". West Bengal Bar Council of India. Retrieved 14 May 2014.