Bar Council of India
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The Bar Council of India is a statutory body that regulates and represents the Indian bar. It was created by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. 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.
After the Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 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 Shri 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 such that it conforms to the new Constitution.
On April 12, 1951, Shri Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, a Member of Parliament, proposed a 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 and the revision of enactments related to the legal profession.
On March 30, 1953, the All India Bar Committee, headed by Hon’ble Shri S. R. Das, submitted a report. This report 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. Shri M. C. Setalvad was the first Chairman and Shri C. K. Daphtary as the Vice Chairman. In 1963, Shri C. K. Daphtary became the Chairman and Shri 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:
1. Lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates
2. Lay down procedure to be followed by disciplinary committees
3. Safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates
4. Promote and support law reform
5. Deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred by a State Bar Council
6. Promote legal education and lay down standards of legal education.
7. Determine universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrollment as an advocate.
8. Conduct seminars on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest.
9. Organize and provide legal aid to the poor.
10. Recognize foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for admission as an advocate.
11. Manage and invest funds of the Bar Council.
12. Provide for the election of its members who shall run the Bar Councils.
13: organize and provide legal aid to the scheduled cast.
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.
The current Chairman is Manan Kumar Mishra. He succeeded Ashok Parija who in turn succeeded Gopal Subramaniam who laid down office upon his elevation as Solicitor General of the country.
The other members of the Council are:
R. Dhanapal Raj, the Vice-Chairman of the Bar Council of India, enrolled in Tamil Nadu in 1978. He was first elected to the State Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1994 and to the Bar Council of India in 2005, where he was Chairman of the Executive Committee till 2007.
Ashok Kumar Deb, the Managing Trustee of the Bar Council of India Trust, is the member from the State Bar Council of West Bengal.
Milan Kumar Dey, who is the Chairman of the Executive Committee, is the member from the State Bar Council of Jharkhand. He enrolled as an advocate in 1990. He was elected member of the Bar Council of Jharkhand and a member of the Bar Council of India in 2006.
Daulat Ram Sharma, the Associate Managing Trustee of the Bar Council of India Trust, is the member from the State Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh. He enrolled as an advocate in 1976. He was elected to the State Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh in 2000 and to the Bar Council of India in 2006.
Brij Mohan Vinayak is the member from the State Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana. He enrolled as an advocate in 1979 and became a member of the State Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana in 2002. He became Vice-Chairman in 2005 and was elected member of the Bar Council of India in 2010.
G E Vahanvati is the Attorney General of India and an ex officio member of the Bar Council of India.
Faisal Rizvi is the member from the State Bar Council of Chhattisgarh. He has practiced law since 1991. In 2002, he was first elected to the State Bar Council of Chattisgarh and was elected to the Bar Council of India in the same year.
Rajendra B. Raghuvanshi is the member from the State Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa. He enrolled as an advocate in 1981. He was elected Chairman of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa in 1998, and in 2004, he was elected to the Bar Council of India.
S. Gopakumaran Nair is the member from the State Bar Council of Kerala.
Gopal Narain Mishra is the member from the State Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh. He enrolled in Lucknow in 1970. He was first elected to the State Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh in 1994 and to the Bar Council of India in 2006.
N. Ramchander Rao is the member from the State Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh.He enrolled as an advocate in 1986.He was elected to the andhra pradesh bar council in 2006 and 2012.He was elected to the bar council of India for the first time in 2012.
Hemantkumar J. Patel is the member from the State Bar Council of Gujarat. He enrolled in Ahmedabad in 1977. He was first elected to the State Bar Council of Gujarat in 1994 and to the Bar Council of India in 2006.
Ashok Parija is the member from the State Bar Council of Orissa.
Zafar Ahmed Khan is the member from the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh. He enrolled as an advocate in 1973. He was first elected member of the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh in 2008 and a member of the Bar Council of India in the same year.
Jagdeesh C M is the member from the State Bar Council of Karnataka. He enrolled as an advocate in 1981 and was elected as a member of the State Bar Council of Karnataka in 2006. In 2008, he was elected to the Bar Council of India.
Vijay Bhatt is the member from the State Bar Council of Uttarakhand. He was first elected to the State Bar Council of Uttarkhand in 2004. He was elected to the Bar Council of India in 2010.
Biri Singh Sinsinwar is the member from the State Bar Council of Rajasthan. He was elected Chairman of the Bar Council of Rajasthan in 2003 and recently to the Bar Council of India.
Shri Rajinder Singh Rana is the member from the State Bar Council of Delhi. He was first elected to the state Bar Council of Delhi in 1998 where he became Vice Chairman in 2000. In 2010, he was elected to the Bar Council of India. He was arrested on 20 December 2010 by CBI on charges of taking bribe for granting recognition to a Law college in Ghaziabad.
Manan Kumar Mishra is the member from the State Bar Council of Bihar. He enrolled as an advocate in 1980 and was elected a member of the State Bar Council of Bihar in 1988. He was elected to the Bar Council of India in 2010.
Enrollment of advocates
Eligible persons 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 enrollment 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 Enrollment.
All applicants for enrollment as advocates are required under Section 24 (1) (f) of the Advocates Act, 1961 to pay an enrollment fee of Rs.600/- (Rupees Six hundred only) to the respective State Bar Council and Rs.150/- (Rupees One hundred Fifty only) to the Bar Council of India. These payments should be made using separate demand drafts.
The Bar Council of India has various committees that make recommendations to the Council. The members of these committees are elected from amongst the members of the Council.
The Executive Committee is the head authority of the Council and responsible for giving effect to the resolutions of the Council. The chairman is Shri Milan Kumar Dey. The committee’s duties are to: 1. Manage and invest funds in a manner directed by the Council 2. Grant leave to staff members 3. Prescribe books of account, registers and files for the proper management of the Council’s affairs 4. Assign and supervise the staff’s work and define the conditions of service 5. Appoint auditors and determine their pay 6. Present the annual audit report, administration report and statement of account to the Council 7. Maintain a library and issue legal publications 8. Determine allowances to members of the different committees of the Council as well as staff members 9. Delegate any of the powers to the Chairman and/or Vice Chairman
Legal Education Committee
The Legal Education Committee make recommendations to the Bar Council of India on matters related to legal education. The Legal Education Committee has the authority to set standards of legal education, visit and inspect universities, recommend the pre requisites for foreign advocates practicing law in India, recommend recognition or discontinuance of a law degree from a University. The Chairman, presently Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. P. Misra, is elected by the members of the committee.
The disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India reviews applications by persons against summary dismissal of their complaints against advocates for professional misconduct, by the State Bar Councils.
Appeals lie before the Bar Council of India against orders of the disciplinary committees of the State Bar Councils. Every such appeal is heard by the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India, which may pass an order, including an order varying the punishment awarded by the disciplinary committee of the State Bar Council. Each disciplinary committee consists of three members. The term of the members of this committee is three years.
Advocate Welfare Committee
The Advocates Welfare 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.
The Building Committee is responsible for setting up offices for the Council.
The Rules Committee reviews the rules and regulations of the Council.
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.
(a) Continuing Legal Education
(b) Teachers training
(c) Advanced specialized professional courses
(d) Education program for Indian students seeking registration after obtaining Law Degree from a Foreign University
(c) Research on professional Legal Education and Standardization
(f) Seminar and workshop
(g) Legal Research
(h)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 shall be held biannually, in April and November, and will test advocates on substantive and procedural law. It will assess basic analytical capabilities and knowledge of law. The syllabi for this examination will 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.
The first All India Bar Examination took place on December 5, 2010. It is mandatory for all future law graduates to clear this examination in order to practice law in India. Since then it has organised five more examinations (as of May 2013).
- About the Bar Council of India
- Advocates Act, 1961
- Chauhan, Neha (21 December 2010). "CBI detains Delhi BCI member Rana amidst allegations of bribery". Legally India. Retrieved 12 July 2012.