Bar Council of India
|भारतीय विधिज्ञ परिषद|
|Statutory body overview|
|Statutory body executives|
|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 section 4 of 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.
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 would 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.
- Organise and provide legal aid to the poor.
- Recognise 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.
- Organise and provide legal aid to the scheduled caste.
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.
|Name of the Member||Position|
|Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra||Chairman, Bar Council of India|
|Satish Abarao Deshmukh||Vice-Chairman, Executive Committee|
|Vijay Bhatt||Managing Trustee, BCI Trust|
|Suresh Chandra Shrimali||Member|
|S. Prabakaran||Co Chairman|
|Ashok Kumar Deb||Member|
|Attorney General of India||ex-officio member|
|Solicitor General of India||ex-officio member|
|Ved Prakash Sharma||Member|
|Satish Abarao Deshmukh||Member|
|T. S. Ajith||Member|
|Filipino K Patel||Member|
|Bhoj Chander Thakur||Member|
Manan Kumar Mishra is the present Chairman. He was preceded by Biri Singh Sinsinewar, who was in turn preceded by the current Chairman, Manan Kumar Mishra.
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 enrollment of advocates. The Council’s enrollment committee may scrutinise a candidate’s application. Those admitted as advocates by any state bar council are eligible to take the All India Bar Examination which is conducted by the Bar Council of India. Passing the All India Bar Examination awards the state-enrolled advocate with a 'Certificate of Enrolment' which enables the state-enrolled advocate to practice law as an advocate in any High Court and lower court within the territory of India. However to practise Law before the Supreme Court of India, Advocates must first appear for and qualify in the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Examination conducted by the Supreme Court.
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 Association: 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 organising, running, conducting, holding, and administering the following:
- Continuing Legal Education
- Teachers training
- Advanced specialised professional courses
- Education program for Indian students seeking registration after obtaining Law Degree from a Foreign University
- Research on professional Legal Education and Standardisation
- 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. The All India Bar Examination (AIBE) IX scheduled to be held on 13 December 2015. It is clarified that the Bar Examination shall be mandatory for all law students graduating from academic year 2009-2010 onwards and enrolled as advocates under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
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