NEW DELHI: The legal profession is “crying for reforms” and lawyers cannot be allowed to a have a “free ride as the administration of justice is a key area”, the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday and sought response of the Bar Council of India on a plea against the bar examination which has been made mandatory for granting advocacy license.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit issued notice to the BCI on a plea seeking the quashing of the 2010 notification by which lawyers will have clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE).
The court, which has now fixed the plea before a three-judge Bench on Friday, did not stay the upcoming AIBE saying that it is not “averse” to it and would examine as to whether it is permissible under the Advocates Act. “The system is crying for reforms...There are over two million lawyers in the courts. Which means, we have enough lawyers and the future inclusion must be on merits,” it said, adding, “the profession is not something where you can have a free ride”. The CJI, during the hearing, referred to past practices of Jammu and Kashmir and said that a person had to undergo various stages before becoming a lawyer who can argue in constitutional courts — HCs and the SC. “There are law colleges where you may not have faculty, no library or where attendance will not be marked. I believe there are law colleges where you have to just go and pay the fees, the rest is taken care of,” the CJI said. “The more this profession gets overcrowded, the more the malpractices because people will have to survive. You have to make a mechanism so that only the best come into the profession...,” the court said.
The Bench also said the earlier system of “pre-enrolment” professional training for a lawyer may be re-considered. The Bench, hearing the plea filed by Karnataka resident R Nagabushana, said that it may also consider appointing senior lawyers like F S Nariman as amicus curiae to assist it in this matter.
During the hearing, the court said, “We have too many lawyers practising the profession and this profession has become overcrowded” and there has to be a system in place to ensure that only capable professionals enter the profession.
The plea, seeking quashing of BCI’s notification on AIBE, alleged that it takes away the statutory right, given to an eligible person to practice law.
The Advocates Act provides that a law graduate can practice law and introduction of AIBE is not mandated under the law, the plea said. The BCI conducts AIBE to examine an advocate’s capability to practice the profession of law and it has been made mandatory. The apex court on Tuesday observed that the right to practice law was a fundamental right for LL.B degree holder.