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Lawyer Challenges Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa's Decision To Enhance Enrolment Charges

Sharmeen Hakim
13 Aug 2021 4:53 AM GMT
Lawyer Challenges Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goas Decision To Enhance Enrolment Charges
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The plea states that the enhancement in enrolment fee was violative of the Advocate's Act, 1961 and Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The Bombay High Court recently issued notice in a lawyer's petition challenging the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa's (BCMG) decision to enhance enrolment charges to Rs 15,000, as effective from January 2020. A division bench of Justices KK Tated and Prithviraj Chavan issued notice to BCMG and the Bar Council of India on Advocate Amey Shejwal's petition that assailed resolutions of...

The Bombay High Court recently issued notice in a lawyer's petition challenging the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa's (BCMG) decision to enhance enrolment charges to Rs 15,000, as effective from January 2020.

A division bench of Justices KK Tated and Prithviraj Chavan issued notice to BCMG and the Bar Council of India on Advocate Amey Shejwal's petition that assailed resolutions of BCMG dated November 3, December 7, and December 29, 2019 regarding enrolment fees.

The three resolution were said to be ultra vires of the Advocates Act, 1961 and violative of Article 14.

Shejwal submitted that the enhancement of enrollment fee under the enrollment charges is contrary to Section 24 (1) (f) of the Advocates Act, 1961. According to the Act, BCMG can charge only Rs. 600 and BCI Rs. 150.

"Section 24(1) (a)… (f) he has paid, in respect of the enrolment, stamp duty, if chargeable under the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (2 of 1899), and an enrolment payable to the State Bar Council of (six hundred rupees and to the Bar Council of India, one hundred and fifty rupees by way of a bank draft drawn in favour of that Council):

Provided that where such person is a member of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes and produces a certificate to that effect from such authority as may be prescribed, the enrolment fee payable by him to the State Bar."

" The decision was "unreasonable" and "discriminatory"," the plea states.

The petitioner further submitted that in response to his RTI query, BCMG stated that they weren't required to take any approval.

He added that the BCMG initially refused to give minutes of their meeting held on September 29, 2019 at Nashik for "The discussion on vision document 2019-2025." However, Shejwal succeeded in an appeal under the RTI Act.

The petitioner claimed that the enrollment fee was charged under different heads including, Enrollment Fee, Library Fee, Certificate, Administrative Charges, Identity Card, Rule 40 Fee, amalgamated Fund and Training Fee. For the SC/ST category, the fee is Rs. 14,500.

Until December 2019, the fee was Rs. 7,450, and with total disregard to serious objections by four bar council members, a resolution effecting a 100% increase in enrollment fee was passed, said the petitioner.

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