Bar Council of India

Introduction

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 and etiquette and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction. It sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in will serve as a qualification for students to enrol themselves as advocates upon graduation.

History & Functions

After the Constitution of India was established on January 26, 1950, the Inter-University Board passed a resolution emphasising 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 theGovernment 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.

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 enrolment 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

Enrolment 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 enrolment of advocates. The Council’s Enrolment Committee may scrutinise a candidate’s application. Those admitted as advocates by any State Bar Council are eligible for a Certificate of Enrolment.

All applicants for enrolment as advocates are required under Section 24 (1) (f) of the Advocates Act, 1961 to pay an enrolment 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.