Bar Council of India

The legal profession is one of the oldest and noblest profession in the world. It refers to whole of the occupational rules purposely oriented towards administration and maintenance of legal system including lawyers, advocates, judges, counselors, experts etc in legal field. Indian legal profession is one of the largest in the world with over 1.4 million advocates enrolled nationwide. The estimated total value of Indian legal market as of 2018 was approx USD 1.3 billion. In order to maintain and consolidate the law relating to legal practitioners and to provide for the constitution of bar councils and an All India Bar The Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted.

Bar Council of India

The Bar council of India is a statutory body created and established by Parliament under the Advocate’s Act, 1961 to regulate the legal practice and Legal education in India. BCI is the Apex body for professional governance of lawyers in the country. It regulates legal profession, Legal education and professional standards in India including directing the state councils, standardising legal education and prescribe course framework at University and law colleges in India as well as conducting the All India Bar Examination to grant certificate of practice to advocates practicing in India.


Historical retrospect

1950 - After the Independence, the Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The Inter University Board at its annual meeting held in Madras pass the resolution stressing the need for an All India Bar and emphasizing the desirability of having uniformly high standards for law examinations in different universities of the country.
1951- In August 1951, the Government of India constituted an All India Bar Committee to go into detail of problems and to provide suggestions. This All India Bar committee was headed by honorable justice S.R. Das, Supreme Court of India.
1953- The All India Bar committee submitted its detail report on March 1953. The report contained the proposal for constituting the bar council for each state and All India Bar Council at the national level as the Apex body for regulating the legal profession as well as to set the standard of Legal education in India.
Meanwhile the law commission of India had been assigned the job for preparing a report on the reforms of judicial administration. In 1961, to implement the recommendations of All India Bar Committee and taking into account the law commission’s recommendations the Parliament passed “ The Advocate Act, 1961” on May 19, 1961.

Establishment of Bar Council of India

The Indian Bar Council is a statutory body established by parliament to regulate and represent the Indian legal profession. It was founded in 1961 under Section 4 of the Advocates Act 1961.
Section 4 provides: There shall be a bar council for the territories to which this Act extends to be known as Bar Council of India.
Concerned Ministry: The ministry of law and Justice is responsible for Bar Council of India.

Structure of Bar Council of India:

Composition of BCI:
The bar council of India consists of two kinds of members :
  • Ex-official members and
  • Elected members

Ex-official members: Attorney General of India
Solicitor General of India
Elected members: Elected members come from state bar councils in the country, one from each.
Term of office: The elected members are elected for 5 years. The ex- official members term shall be of 2 years or till he ceases to be a member of State bar council, whichever is earlier.
Qualification: According to Section 4(I)A , the person must have been an advocate on roll for electing state Bar Council for at least 10 years.
Disqualification: As per section 10 B of Advocate Act, 1961, the office of an elected member shall be deemed to have been vacated If:

  1. he remains absent from three consecutive meetings of state bar Council without sufficient cause, or
  2. his name is removed from roll of advocates for any cause,or
  3. he is otherwise disqualified under any rule made by the Bar council of India.

Committees of Bar Council of India

The Bar Council of India has various committees that recommends the council. The members of these committees are elected amongst the members of the Council. The Advocate’ s Act, 1961 mandates the creation of Disciplinary committee, Legal education committee and Executive committee.
Chapter 3 of Bar Council of India Rules, 1975 permit the council to appoint from amongst its members one or more committees in addition to those specified in the Act. Following committees are there

  • Disciplinary Committee
  • Legal Aid Committee
  • Executive Committee
  • BCI Advocate Welfare Committee
  • All India Bar Examination Committee
  • Rules Committee
  • Building Committee
  • Directorate of Legal education
  • Legal education committee
  • Other Committees
- Finance Committee
- Special or Oversee Committee.

Powers of Bar Council of India

  • Rule making power
  • Disciplinary power
  • Appellate power
  • Review power
  • Revisionary power
  • Power of superintendance over state bar councils
  • Power to make rules for conducting business, elections etc .

Functions of Bar Council of India

To conduct All India Bar Examination
To provide recognition to universities
To regulate legal profession
To maintain standard of legal profession
To protect the rights, interest and privileges of legal professionals
To give standard code of ethics and professional etiquett etc

Allahabad Bank versus Girish Prasad Verma ,1993

The Disciplinary Committee of Uttar Pradesh Bar Council has that legal profession is a noble profession and its members must set an example of conduct worthy of the emulation.

Raj Pai versus Alex Fernandes , 2000

The supreme court stated that the debarring the person from pursuing his career for his life is an extreme punishment and calls for caution before being passed.

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