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Students file petitions against Bar examination

The first-ever All India Bar Examination,meant to test whether law graduates intending to start practice are up to the mark....

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi |
June 25, 2010 12:15:24 am

The first-ever All India Bar Examination,meant to test whether law graduates intending to start practice are up to the mark,has run into rough weather with at least two petitions challenging the legality of the exam being filed in different High Courts.

And if that was not enough,some members of the Bar Council of India (BCI) are also reportedly upset with the “needless haste” with which the council chairman Gopal Subramanium and some members pushed the move.

The brainchild of Subramanium,who is also the Solicitor General of India,the exam was scheduled to be held across India on December 5.

Sources said a group of law graduates in Gujarat has moved the Gujarat High Court seeking directions to the Centre through the Ministry of Law to allow them to practice law without having to qualify the exam.

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Last week,Karnataka High Court had issued notices to the Centre,the BCI and others after a final-year law student petitioned it submitting that even though he would get his degree in July,he would be forced to wait till December to begin practice. The move,therefore,violated Article-19(1)(g) of the Constitution,which deals with the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation,trade or business.

Sources said some students could challenge the exam in the Supreme Court also.

A group of final-year students from different law colleges had met Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily earlier this week and asked him to dissuade BCI from conducting the exam. Moily,it is learnt,assured them the government would take necessary steps.

In their representation to Moily,the students claimed that due to the “sudden” move to hold the exam,job offers made to many students by companies,law firms and offices are being revoked as they would be “unproductive for the firms” till the examination results are declared. They also claimed BCI was not empowered under the Constitution or the Advocates Act,1961 to prescribe norms,conditions and rules for enrollment in the Bar. “There are many rulings by various courts,including the SC,which clearly say BCI has no power to formulate new condition for enrollment in the Bar. This can only be done by Parliament by way of an enactment or amendment in the Advocates Act,” said Siddharth S Seth,who led the students’ delegation.

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