A 28-year-old advocate registered with the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the Rs 16,400 fee charged by the council for enrolment of new advocates.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, after hearing the matter, issued notice to the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and the Bar Council of India, seeking a reply by November 5.
The petitioner, advocate Pardhuman Garg, argued before the bench that the Advocates Act, 1961, is the primary legislation governing legal practitioners in India. It inter-alia governs aspects pertaining to constitution of Bar Councils, admission and enrolment of advocates, their rights to practice and their conduct.
The petitioner further submitted that section 24 (1) (f) of the Advocates Act, 1961, provides that for being admitted as an advocate, a person has to pay Rs 600 to the state bar council and Rs 150 to the Bar Council of India. Furthermore, in case he/she belongs to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the enrolment fee payable is Rs 100 to the state bar council and Rs 25 to the Bar Council of India.
However, contrary to the legislative mandate, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana charges an additional fee of Rs 8,600 as enrolment fee, Rs 1,050 in favour of Bar Council of India, Rs 1,000 as ‘building fund’ and Rs 5,000 as ‘welfare and insurance fund’. The total fee charged by the Bar council of Punjab and Haryana to be enrolled as an advocate comes to Rs 16,400, furthermore, the respondent council charges an additional amount of Rs 5,000 towards circulation fee in case an applicant wishes to get himself/herself enrolled the same day he/she applied for issuance of license.
In addition to the prohibition as prescribed by the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, even the Bar Council of India rules do not permit state bar councils to levy such an additional fee towards enrolment and circulation fee, he argued.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines