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New eligibility norm for lawyers to practice in SC challenged

Madras High Court on Monday issued notice to Bar Council of India on a petition challenging a rule which stipulates that newly enrolled lawyers should have practiced for two years in the subordinate courts and three years in high courts to be eligible for practice in the Supreme Court.

First bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana also issued notice to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and directed the respondents to file their counter by January 5 next. Petitioner Akshai Mani, an advocate, sought to declare the relevant part of Bar Council of India Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules 2014 as void, illegal and unconstitutional. Petitioner submitted that on the recommendations of a sub-committee formulated by BCI, certain rules were amended to the effect that every new lawyer who is enrolled shall first practice for a period of two years in the subordinate courts and then for another three years in high courts for practicing in the Supreme Court.

This was ‘a very big blow’ to the young lawyers, he said contending these rules were contrary to Section 30 of the Advocates Act 1961. The act passed provided an absolute right for an advocate to practice in all courts and tribunals.
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