The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Bar Council of India (BCI) in a petition which has challenged the validity of All India Bar Examination Rules 2010 and the power of BCI to prescribe such an exam.
The petition challenging the All-India Bar Examination Rules 2010 framed by the BCI which mandate that an advocate has to qualify the All India Bar Exam (AIBE) in order to practice before Indian courts.
A three-Judge Bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari issued notice to BCI in a plea seeking stay on conducting AIBE. The notice is returnable in three weeks.
The petitioner Parthsarthi Mahesh Saraf, who enrolled in the year 2019, raised question the authority of the BCI to prescribe such a post-enrollment requirement for practice.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that the issue was whether AIBE can be held in the absence of power on the part of BCI to prescribe such an exam. The Bench agreed and, therefore, sought the response of BCI to the interim prayer to stay AIBE.
The petitioner also challenged the notification issued by the BCI on 21 December 2020 regarding the holding of AIBE 2021 on 24 January and 13 March 2021.
As per the plea the issue whether the Bar Council of India has the power to prescribe qualification of a pre-enrollment or post-enrollment exam as a condition to practice has been referred to constitution bench by a three-judge bench in 2016 and that it was still pending.
The petition has also mentioned that as per 1973 amendment to the Advocates Act, clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 24 of the Advocates Act - which provided for passing of an examination held by the State Bar Council after training as a condition for enrollment was omitted.