NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today framed three issues for consideration by its Constitution Bench in deciding the challenge to the All India Bar Exam (AIBE), which has been made mandatory for granting advocacy licence.
"Let it go to five-judge Constitution Bench for authoritative pronouncement," a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit said.
The three questions to be considered by the constitution bench are firstly, whether Bar Council of India (BCI) can prescribe a pre-enrolment training in terms of the BCI (Training) Rules, 1995 as framed under Section 24 (3)(d) of the Advocates Act, 1961.
Secondly, whether a pre-enrolment exam can be prescribed by BCI as a condition precedent for enrolment and, thirdly, if these two questions are answered in the negative, then whether a post-enrolment exam can be validly prescribed.
The Bench said the questions are of considerable importance and all cases relating to the challenge to the AIBE stand transferred to the Constitution Bench.
"We are of the view that the questions call for determination by the Constitution Bench and need to be answered by the Constitution Bench. We, therefore transfer it to the larger bench," it said.
The questions were framed after taking suggestions of the parties and senior advocate K K Venugopal, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter.
During the previous hearings, the bench had said "We want to settle this controversy regarding pre-enrolment training and post-enrolment exam. If an amendment to the Act is needed, we will recommend that."
The bench was hearing a batch of petitions seeking quashing of a 2010 notification by which lawyers must clear the AIBE to get an advocacy licence.
The court, during the earlier hearings, had observed that 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".