The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Bar Council of India (BCI) in a 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 Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari also issued notice to BCI in a plea seeking stay on conducting AIBE. The notice is returnable in 3 weeks.
The Court during the hearing noted that challenge to the AIBE is already pending before the Supreme Court.
The petitioner’s counsel, VK Biju 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 petition filed by Parthsarthi Mahesh Saraf, who enrolled in 2019, questioned the authority of the BCI to prescribe such a post-enrollment requirement for practice.
The petitioner also challenged the notification issued by the BCI on December 21, 2020 regarding the holding of AIBE 2021 on January 24 and March 13.
The plea said that issue whether the Bar Council of India has the power to prescribe qualification of a pre-enrolment or post-enrolment 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 highlighted 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 enrolment – was omitted.