CLAT: BCI drafts proposal for amendment
New Delhi: The Bar Council of India has proposed to amend the Advocates Act 1961, through an internally regulated circular, which could very well overhaul the regulation of legal profession in the country.
The move follows the recent observations made by the Supreme Court of India in Mahipal Singh Rana vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, wherein the Court had noted an urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession.
A three Judge Bench comprising Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had also requested the Law commission and Government of India to take appropriate steps in this regard. In view of above, LCI had undertaken a study and requested the BCI and all State Bar Councils, Bar Association of the Supreme Court and Advocates on Records Association of Supreme Court, Advocates Associations’ in the High Courts and their respective Benches to send their comments regarding the same.
The proposal intends to statutorily provide the BCI with the power to conduct a Common Entrance Test for admission in the institutions imparting Legal Education in the country. In the Counter- Affidavit filed in response to Prof. Shamnad Basheer’s petition for permanent CLAT body, BCI had already offered to conduct the Common Law Entrance Test.
Laying special emphasis on its power to regulate legal education in the country as per Advocates Act, 1961, BCI had submitted that the admissions to NLUs are being made on the basis of an admission test conducted by a non-statutory body, even though “a statutory body regulating the legal education in the Country is duly constituted and is capable enough to conduct such admission tests.” In the light of this, the BCI now intends to give a statutory basis to the proposal.
Under the proposed regime, in order to practice before the Supreme Court of India, fresh entrants would have to satisfy the following requirements: 1. Complete a three-month training course from a state bar council-affiliated training centre, 2. Pass the All India Bar Examination (AIBE), 3. Practice, for at least two years, before a district or a Sessions Judge and other subordinate courts of original jurisdiction, 4. Practice, for at least three years, before a high court and other appellate forums.
The proposal increases the imprisonment for illegally practising in Courts from the current six months, to five years, and prescribes a fine of Rs. 1 lakh.