25 Nov 2019 11:20 AM GMT
The High Court of Kerala on Monday sought the responses of Bar Council of India (BCI) and Bar Council of Kerala (BCK) on a writ petition which challenges the amounts collected by them for enrolment as 'exorbitant and illegal'.A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice A M Shaffique has posted the case next on December 3.The petition filed by five law students of NUALS...
The High Court of Kerala on Monday sought the responses of Bar Council of India (BCI) and Bar Council of Kerala (BCK) on a writ petition which challenges the amounts collected by them for enrolment as 'exorbitant and illegal'.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice A M Shaffique has posted the case next on December 3.
The petition filed by five law students of NUALS Kochi - Ajiz M K, Sarath K P, Sreenath J, Mohammed Sheharan and Niranjan M S - points out that the Bar Council of Kerala levies Rs. 10,650 as enrollment fee. 'Delay condonation fee' of Rs. 5000 and Rs.10,000 is charged on those who seek enrollment five and ten years respectively after graduation. Also, for those seeking transfer of enrolment from other states to Kerala, a fee of Rs. 2000 is charged.
According to the petitioners, the fee fixed by BCK is against the Advocates Act 1961.
The Parliament, through Section 24(1)(f) of the Advocates Act, has fixed Rs. 750/- as the enrolment fees that can be imposed on law graduates. So the enrolment fee of Rs. 10,650 is directly against the Advocates Act, contend the petitioners.
The petition further states that there is no obligation on any law graduate to enroll within any number of years from passing the law degree under any Act or Rules in India. Under such circumstances, there arises no question for any delay to be 'condoned' in the first place.
"such 'Delay Condonation Fee' is nothing but enrolment fee in another name as it is a fee that is intricately interwoven and interconnected with the process of enrolment", states the petition filed through Advocate Santhosh Mathew.
The rules framed by the BCK on enrolment fee are against the parent legislation - the Advocates Act.
The petitioners also challenge the BCK practice of collection Rs. 3000 as payment towards Bar Council of India Welfare Fund at the time of enrolment.
"Rule 40, Part VI, Chapter II, Section IV A of the Bar Council of India Rules clearly states that the obligation to pay such an amount is on 'Advocates' and not on prospective advocates. It is clear that the said amount is to be collected at a post-enrolment stage and not be imposed as a pre-enrolment condition. This conclusion is affirmed by the fact that Rule 40 gives Advocates the liberty to make payments towards the fund in instalments if the Advocates so desire. By requiring that candidates pay the whole amount of Rs. 3000/- as a precondition for enrolment, the first respondent is denying to candidates the inherent flexibility that Rule 40 offers", states the petition.
The transfer fee of Rs. 2000 is also questioned by the petitioner, referring to Section 18(1) of the Advocates Act, as per which Advocates are entitled to have their names transferred from the rolls of one State Bar Council to another without the payment of any fees.
On all the above mentioned grounds, the petitioners seek to put a stop to the practice of levy of "exorbitant and illegal fees" by the BCI and BCK.
Click here to download petition