This post has been written by Parishkriti Atri, a first year law student pursuing LL.B. (H) from Amity Law School, Noida.
Allahabad High Court addressed the issue of assisting the needy Advocates and Registered Advocate Clerks, taking judicial cognizance in the matter and directing the authorities to explain the steps taken by them or to be taken with regards to this issue.
A divisional bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma observed that due to the reduced pace of judicial working in the entire Country an enormous effect on the livelihood is visible on the profession of Advocates and the Registered Advocate Clerks.
The Chief Justice informed that he himself and the Registry has received several representations and messages to do the needful with respect to this issue. The bench observed that under the Advocates Act, 1961 welfare of the Advocates fraternity and assisting the needy Advocates is the responsibility of the Bar Council of India as well as the State Bar Council.
The Court has called upon Bar Council of India, New Delhi through its Secretary, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh through its Secretary, the Principal Secretary, Department of Law, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, Allahabad High Court Bar Association, Allahabad through its General Secretary, Allahabad High Court Advocate’s Association, Allahabad through its General Secretary, Awadh Bar Association, Lucknow through its General Secretary by a notice.
Bar Council secretary B. Padma Latha stated in a circular that the financial assistance scheme offered during the lockdown is meant for those advocates who are not able to meet their day-to-day expenses for food or medicine due to lock down. Advocates who enrolled after January 1, 2010 and have age below 45 years are eligible for the same.
“ The law is the public conscience”- Thomas Hobbes
The Inter-University Board held its annual meeting in Madras after the Constitution of India came into force. A resolution was passed which stressed on the need for an all-India bar and emphasised the desirability of having uniformly high standards for law examinations in different Universities of the country in view of the fact that a Supreme Court of India had been established.
In May 1950, the Madras Provincial Lawyers Conference held under the presidency of Shri S. Varadachariar resolved that the Government of India should appoint a committee for the purpose of evolving a scheme for an all-India Bar and amending the Indian Bar Councils Act to bring it in conformity with the new Constitution.
Shri Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, a Member of Parliament, introduced on April 12, 1951, a comprehensive bill to amend the India Bar Councils Act.
To implement the recommendations of the All-India Bar Committee and taking into account the Law Commission’s recommendations relating to the legal profession, a comprehensive Advocates Bill was introduced in the Parliament which resulted in the The Advocates Act, 1961.
COMPOSITION OF BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA
Section 4 (1) of the Advocate Act 1961 lists down the composition of Bar Council of India-
1) Attorney-General of India, ex officio;
2) Solicitor-General of India, ex officio;
3) A member elected by each State Bar Council from amongst its members.
FUNCTIONS OF BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA
Section 7 of the Advocate Act,1961 provides the functions of Bar Council of India-
- To lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates.
- To lay down procedure to be followed by its disciplinary committee and the disciplinary committees of each State Bar Council.
- To safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates.
- To promote and support law reform.
- To deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred to it by a State Bar Council.
- To promote legal education and to lay down standards of legal education. This is done in consultation with the Universities in India imparting legal education and the State Bar Councils.
- To recognise Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate. The Bar Council of India visits and inspects Universities, or directs the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect Universities for this purpose.
- To conduct seminars and talks on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest.
- To organise legal aid to the poor.
- To recognise on a reciprocal basis, the foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for the purpose of admission as an advocate in India.
- To manage and invest the funds of the Bar Council.
- To provide for the election of its members who shall run the Bar Councils.
Section 7 (a) of the Act states that the Bar Council of India may become a member of international legal bodies such as the International Bar Association or International Legal Aid Association, and contribute such sums as it thinks fit to Such bodies by way of subscription or otherwise and authorize expenditure on the participation of its representatives in any international legal conference seminars.
Section 19 requires the State Bar Council to send copies of rolls of advocate to the Bar Council of India. It provides that every State Bar Council shall send to the Bar Council of India an authenticated copy of the roll of Advocates prepare by it for the first time under this Act and shall, thereafter, communicate to the Bar Council of India all alterations and addition to, such roll as soon as the same have been made.
Section 18 makes provision in respect of transfer of name from one State roll to another. It provides that any person whose name is entered as an advocate on the role of any State Bar Council for the transfer of his name from the roll of State Bar Council to the roll of any other State Bar Council and on receipt of any such application, the Bar Council of India shall direct that the name of such person shall, without the payment of any few, be removed from the roll of the first mentioned State Bar Council and be entered in the roll of the other State Bar Council and State Bar Council concerned shall comply with such direction.
Section 20 provides that every advocate who was entitled as of right to practice in the Supreme Court immediately before the appointed day and whose name was not entered in any state roll may, within the prescribed time, express his intention in the prescribed form to the Bar Council and on receipt thereof, the Bar Council of India shall direct that the name of each advocate shall, without payment of any fee, be entered in the role of state Bar Council and the State Bar Council concerned shall comply with such direction.
The Bar Council of India also has the following functions to perform
- Giving financial assistance as it fits the State Bar Council in need of funds for the purpose of performing its function.
- Preventing a citizen of any country from practicing the profession of law in India when that country prevents citizens of India from practicing the profession of law in their country.
- Calling the record of any proceedings from any State Bar Council or Committee thereof to see legality and proprietary of such proceeding.
- Giving its own order to any of its committee except the disciplinary committee.
- Giving directions to the State Bar Council or any other Committee for the proper and efficient discharge of the functions of the State Bar Council.
The Act empowers The Bar Council of India to appoint one or more disciplinary committees, Legal aid committees, executive committee, Legal Education Committee, etc.
Section 11 empowers the Bar Council to appoint a secretary and accountant. It is mandatory that the Bar Council shall have a secretary.
POWER TO MAKE RULES
The Bar Council of India shall make Rules under the provisions of Section 15 of the Advocate Act.
Section 15(2) of this Act provides that in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power. Such Rules may provide for the election of the members of the Bar Council, chairman and Vice-chairman, Election disputes, filling of casual vacancies in the Bar Council, power and duties of chairman and vice-chairman, constitution of one or more funds, organizations of legal aid, and meetings conduct of business of any committee, management and investment of funds of Bar Council.
Section 49 confers on the Bar Council of India general power to make Rules for discharging its functions under this Act.
Section 36 empowers the Bar Council of India to punish an Advocate for professional or other misconduct like suspending an advocate from practice for such as it may deem feet and remove the name of the Advocate from the state roll of Advocate.
Section 37 empowers the Bar Council of India to hear appeals against the order of the Disciplinary Committee of a Bar Council. Every such appeal shall be heard by the disciplinary committee of Bar Council of India.
Section 38 provides that any person aggrieved by the order passed by the Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of India, may be challenged within 60 days by way of appeal before the Supreme Court.
DISCIPLINARY POWERS OF BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA
(1) Where on receipt of a complaint or otherwise the Bar Council of India has reason to believe that any advocate whose name is not entered on any State roll has been guilty of professional or other misconduct, it shall refer the case for disposal to its disciplinary committee.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Chapter, the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India may, either of its own motion or on a report by any State Bar Council or an application made to it by any person interested withdraw for inquiry before itself any proceedings for disciplinary action against any advocate pending before the disciplinary committee of any State Bar Council and dispose of the same.
(3) The disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India disposing of any case under this section, shall observe, so far as may be, the procedure laid down in Section 35, the references to the Advocate-General in that section being construed as references to the Attorney-General of India.
(4) In disposing of any proceedings under this section the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India may make any order which the disciplinary committee of a State Bar Council can make under sub-section (3) of section, 35 and where any proceedings have been withdrawn for inquiry before the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India the State Bar Council concerned shall give effect to any such order.
SUPPLEMENTARY ORGANS OF BCI
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.
(a) Legal Education Committee:
The committee was established by the Bar Council of India under Section 10(2)(b) of the Advocates Act, 1961 for the purpose of academics, which includes only one personnel from academia.
(b) Bar Council Of India Trust:
The Bar Council of India introduced a public welfare and charitable organization, namely, The Bar Council of India Trust, 1974. According to the norms, the purpose of such initiative is to maintain the standards and to effect improvements in legal education which also intends to establish Law Schools of excellence and to enhance legal research.
(c)Directorate of Legal Education:
In the year 2010, a Directorate of Legal Education was established by the Bar Council of India for the purpose of running, initiate, upheld, organizing and administering (a) training for the teachers (b) certainty of Legal Education (c) advanced specialized professional courses legal research (d) workshop, program for the Indian students who are seeking for the registration from the foreign university after completing their law degree by the Bar Council of India.
- Bar Council of India, indianbarassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BAR-COUNCIL-OF-INDIA1.pdf
- History, the bar Council of India, www.barcouncilofindia.org/about/about-the-bar-council-of-india/history/
- P, Pavithra, Sreelatha, A. A Conceptual Framework Analysis of the Role of Bar Council of India in Burgeons of Legal Education in India, International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, https://acadpubl.eu/hub/2018-120-5/2/136.pdf
- The Advocates Act, 1961
- The functions of bar Council of India, SRD Law Notes, https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2016/10/the-functions-of-bar-council-of-india.html