The Supreme Court recently said that there cannot be any retirement age for practicing lawyers. Upper age limit cannot be fixed for law graduates to continue their practice who would like to carry on practice at the bar after retirement. The bench embraced of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri who dismissed the appeals filed by bar council of various states. These states fixed 45 years as the age limit for practicing legal profession in those states. The Court stated that there are many people who enroll as advocates to take up the profession after retirement who are expected to be good lawyers in a shot span of time. Advocate Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad appeared for the Bar Council of India who submitted that such age limit was fixed so as to bring evenness in the legal practice all over the States. This will in turn strengthen professional standards and safeguard the needs of the lawyers.
The advocates also appeared on behalf of Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab Bar Councils who stated that the rule will uphold educational standards as there are numerous persons attaining law degree while in service. But the Court was of the opinion that even after 45 years there are lawyers who outshine in their profession. Moreover, the Parliament has not determined the age bar to acquire law degree and therefore the bar councils of the states are trying to create disparity between persons who stands in similar position. The Court, in addition, pointed out that the rules formulated in this regard by the State bar councils that restricted the law graduates to conduct enrolment subsequent to retirement or even resignation is unconstitutional. Hence the Court set aside the rules thus framed and held that there cannot be any upper age limit for practicing legal profession.
In 2014, the Bar Council of India had introduced new Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules which affirms that the lawyers can carry on the practice in the Apex Court only if they have practical experience for 5 years in the High Court or subordinate courts. These provisions shall be effected after approval from the State Bar Councils. But, the advocates are of the opinion that the rule if implemented, the budding lawyers will be denied the opportunity to practice in the Supreme Court. Moreover, Section 30 of the Advocates Act states that the lawyers can practice in any Court in India after enrolment. Hence, the rules are violative of the provisions of the Advocates Act.