Millennium Post

Right to practise law is fundamental right: SC to Bar Council of India

The right to practise law is a fundamental right for LL.B degree holder and introduction of examination by the Bar Council of India for granting advocacy licence “negates” the very right, the Supreme Court observed on Tuesday.

“The right to practise law is there in the Act (the Advocates Act). When (Bar Council of India) says that a person will not be able to practise law without clearing the exam, then you are taking away the same right,” a Bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice UU Lalit said.

“This is not only a statutory right but a fundamental right also,” it said, adding that an amendment to the existing law was needed for effecting the change.

Apex bar body, BCI, conducts the All-India Bar Examination (AIBE) to examine an advocate’s capability to practise the profession of law and it has been made mandatory.

The court was hearing a plea fo R Nagabushana, seeking quashing of BCI’s notification on AIBE on the ground that it takes away the statutory right, given to an eligible person to practise law.

The bar body claims that the AIBE “assess skills at a basic level, and is intended to set a minimum benchmark for admission to the practise of law; it addresses a candidate’s analytical abilities and understanding basic knowledge of law”.

After a brief hearing, the court said, “Heard. Post tomorrow i.e. Tuesday, the 1st March, 2016, higher up in the list.” 

The notification bringing the AIBE into force was passed by the Legal Education Committee and members of the Bar Council of India in meetings held on April 10 and 30, 2010.
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