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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     19 June 2010

First Bar Exam: Writ Petition by LA Shah Law College Student

The first bar exam, to be held in December of this year is already facing its first litigation. Six law graduates from the state of Gujarat have filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the Union of India through the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The counsel for petitioner Ursh*t Oza, Amit M. Panchal approached a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Jusitce Akil Kureshi challenging the provisions of Rules 9, 10 and 11 of the Advocates Act, 1961 which requires a person to have a law degree to enable him to practice in court.

The petitioners, 6 students were enrolled for a 3-year law program from Sir L.A. Shah Law College, Ahmedabad. The Law College also offers a 2 year LL.B programme and a 3 year LL.B programme after completion of a 3 year graduation. The petitioners after graduating with a commerce degree opted for a 3-year law degree programme.

The college course mandated that anyone who is taking up litigation practice after the 2-year programme has to undergo an additional year and would be awarded LL.B (Special) while students who completed the 3 year programme would be awarded LL.B (General) degree. Ursh*t and 5 petitioners although graduated with a LL.B (General) degree in 2008-2009 opted for an additional year of specialization where they would be awarded the LL.B (Special) degree.

The LA Shah Law college website explains their degrees programme as follows:

LL.B. (General) is a 2 year degree course comprising First LL.B. -2 semesters and Second LL.B.-2 semesters. LL.B. (Special) is a 3 year degree course comprising additional 2 semesters of Third LL.B. LL.B. (Special) degree entitles student to enroll as an advocate. The LL.B. syllabus has been updated in consultation with the requirements and recommendations of both the Bar Council of India in 1997 and the UGC Model Curriculum: Law -2001.

The petitioners allege that due to the BCI resolution which will conduct the bar exam in December of this year, it would lead to a loss of six months and their LL.B (General) degree should entail them to practice without writing the first Bar exam.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, Ursh*t clarified “There has been a lot of mis-information spread by the media quoting us to be LL.M students and students who have graduated in 2008 etc. We had not approached the media till the hearing was over today. We also want to clarify that this is not a PIL and we are a group of graduates who are affected by the Bar Council’s First Bar exam and will have to wait for an additional six months to commence our law practice.”

The BCI resolution passed in April of this year states that “No advocate enrolled under section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 shall be entitled to practice under Chapter IV of the Advocates Act, 1961, unless such advocate successfully passes the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. It is clarified that the Bar Examination shall be mandatory for all law students graduating from academic year 2009-2010 onwards and enrolled as advocates under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961.”

This degree is a special degree and cannot be classified as a 3-year or a 5-year degree course. The High Court bench adjourning the matter said that since a writ petition is pending before the Supreme Court (Bar Council of India v Bonnie Foi Law College) which is coming up for hearing in the month of July, the matter now stands posted after the Supreme Court hears the petition.

The first bar exam has been facing many hiccups along the way and this petition is only the first among many which will follow the bold decision of the BCI.


 3 Replies


I congratulate all the young Law Graduates who  have taken this bold step.  I am sure,  there will be several litigations on this draconian rule  imposed by the BCI on the Law Graduates.


Anindita Roy (Law officer)     19 June 2010

I definitely second the students approach towards this entrance exam as it is going to do no good to the judiciary..instead the bar will lose many talented lawyers because there are many great advocates who might not be good at their grades but are superb mooters and have excellent advocacy skills and vice-versa.this examination system will create lacunas therein in the legal system. 

Vinod Kumar Arora (Partner: PATHFINDERS)     19 June 2010

The Bar Council of India even appointed a company to conduct the exams i.e. it outsourced the work for testing the advocates who passed their law courses from either colleges recognised by the universities or universities, established by law. This is, amongst other things, a sheer disrespect to the universities established by law and being governed under the relevant provisions of law. By passing the resolution in question the Bar Council of India besides other things which should have not been done, tried to establish its supremacy in the matter even beyond what the law permits. This is really going to be a very bad precedent if the same is allowed to remain.      

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