Monday, November 29, 1999

Court queries Gujarat bar council on test for budding lawyers

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Gandhinagar, June 16(IANS) The Gujarat High Court Wednesday came down on the Bar Council of Gujarat, among others, seeking to know why law graduates need to qualify in an exam to enroll with it before beginning their legal practice.While hearing a plea filed by students with a masters degree in law who challenged the amended rules of the Advocates Act, the court sought an explanation from the authorities as to why an examination is required for the enrolment of a law graduate as a lawyer.A new Bar Council of India resolution states that law graduates must appear in an eligibility test to get a license to practice.The court was critical of the argument that some law graduates enroll as practising lawyers just for the sake of it and later migrate to the corporate sector.A division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi asked the advocates of the respondents whether there could be differentiation among lawyers or whether there could be different types of lawyers.'Can there be two types of advocates?' the chief justice asked.'...Does it mean that the examination is compulsory for enrolment?' he asked.The respondents' advocates argued that the new rule of conducting the examination would apply to students who graduate in 2009-10 and later.Recently, the Bar Council of Gujarat did not enroll law graduates for legal practice citing the new guidelines issued by the apex bar council.Petitioner Urshit Bhusan Oza and others have challenged the provisions of Rules 9, 10 and 11 of the Advocates Act, 1961.The rules require that candidates applying for a licence to practice law must be law graduates. The new BCI resolution states that the law graduates must appear in an eligibility test to get a license to practice.Advocate for the petitioners, Amit Panchal, submitted before the court that they had obtained their law degree in 2008-09 and completed their specialization in 2009-10.They stated that the new resolution can only be applicable to them if the BCI does not consider their degree of 2008-09.They further submitted that their masters degree in law was completed in 2009-10 and if the BCI considered 2009-10 as the cut-off year, then they should be granted a licence to practice which would be subject to the result of eligibility test.However, the division bench said as a similar matter is pending before the Supreme Court and is likely to be taken up July 30, it would not take up the matter before the apex court's directions in the case and posted the matter for August 9.

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