Bar Council Of India Can Prescribe That Only Graduates From Recognized Law Colleges Can Enrol As Advocates : Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Friday set aside an Orissa High Court order which had held that the Bar Council of India cannot impose a condition that a person must have graduated from a recognized law college to enrol as an advocate.Relying on the recent Constitution judgement in Bar Council of India vs. Bonnie Foi Law College & Ors (which upheld the All India Bar Examination), a Bench of...
The Supreme Court on Friday set aside an Orissa High Court order which had held that the Bar Council of India cannot impose a condition that a person must have graduated from a recognized law college to enrol as an advocate.
Relying on the recent Constitution judgement in Bar Council of India vs. Bonnie Foi Law College & Ors (which upheld the All India Bar Examination), a Bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Sanjay Kumar held that the rules framed by BCI for enrolment as an Advocate can’t be viewed as invalid.
“Viewed thus, the rule framed by BCI requiring a candidate for enrolment as an Advocate to have completed his law course from a college recognized/ approved by BCI cannot be said to be invalid, as was held in the impugned order. We, therefore, have no hesitation in holding that the Division Bench was not justified in directing the enrolment of respondent No. 1 as an Advocate, despite the fact that he secured his law degree from a college which was not recognized or approved by BCI.”
The Supreme Court also noted that in the 2023 AIBE judgment, it was held that the judgement in V. Sudeer vs. Bar Council of India and another did not lay down the correct law.
“Perusal of the Constitution Bench judgment reflects that the decision in V. Sudeer (supra) was held to be not good law. The Constitution Bench held that the BCI’s role prior to enrolment cannot be ousted and the ratio decidendi in V.Sudeer (supra), that it was not one of the statutory functions of BCI to frame rules imposing pre-enrolment conditions, was erroneous. It was categorically held that 2 Section 49 read with Section 24(3)(d) of the Act of 1961 vested BCI with the power to prescribe the norms for entitlement to be enrolled as an Advocate and in consequence, the interdict placed by the decision in V. Sudeer (supra) on the power of BCI could not be sustained. The Constitution Bench, accordingly, held that V. Sudeer (supra) did not lay down the correct position of law.”
On these grounds, the Court allowed the appeal filed by the BCI against the High Court's order.
The Respondent had secured his law degree from Vivekananda Law College, Angul, an de-recognised college, in 2009. In 2002, BCI had directed the college not to admit students in law course stating that students so admitted would not be eligible for enrolment as Advocates. Based on this, the Orissa State Bar Council rejected the respondent’s application for enrolment as an Advocate in 2011. Aggrieved, he moved the Orissa High Court. The High Court, while allowing the writ, took strength from V. Sudeer’s judgement. The High Court opined that once a candidate fulfilled the conditions stipulated in Section 24(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 and did not suffer any disqualification under Section 24A thereof, he would be entitled to enrolment as an Advocate. Further, the Division Bench held that BCI could not frame rules and add any condition for enrolment in addition to what was prescribed under Section 24 of the Act of 1961. This prompted the BCI to move the Top Court.
The matter was reserved for judgement earlier this week.
Case Title: Bar Council Of India Vs Rabi Sahu & Anr | Civil Appeal No. 8571 Of 2013
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 481