The call for a transformation in the judicial administration in India following independence, paved the way for entrusting the Law Commission to suggest a report in this connection. In 1953 the All India Bar Committee prepared a report concerning the matter. An all-inclusive bill was presented in the Parliament combining the recommendations of the Commission and of the Committee. The bill was conceded in both houses and finally the Advocates Act, 1961 came into force.
The Preamble of the Act provides for the establishment of Bar Councils at state level and All India Bar Council. The legislation is enacted with the key objective to modify and combine the law dealing with legal practitioners. The State Bar Councils shall elect a Chairman and Vice-Chairman as prescribed by the Act. The Bar Council of India consists of Attorney General, Solicitor General, one elected representative of State Bar Council, and persons qualified to be Chairman and Vice-Chairman. The key purpose of the State Bar Council comprises of admission of advocates, uphold the interests of advocates, support law reform, arrange legal aid camps, administer funds, conduct elections etc.
The Act confers certain important functions on the Bar Council of India. It is the duty of the Council to regularize professional behavior and decorum of advocates. The Bar Council shall supervise the functions of State Councils. The central role is to uphold legal education and to grant recognition to universities which shall be an eligibility to enroll as a lawyer. The other functions are similar to that of State Bar Council. The tenure of the members of State Bar Councils shall be five years from the declarations of the results.
The Bar Council is empowered to organize disciplinary and legal aid committees. Under the provisions of the legislation, the Bar Council may frame rules relating to election of members, filling up of vacancies, authority and obligations of Chairman and Vice Chairman, legal aid camps, allocation of funds etc.
The Advocates are categorized under the Act as senior advocates and other advocates. A person shall be assigned senior designation if such person deserves such a peculiarity according to the opinion of Supreme Court or High Court. To enroll as an advocate, a person should possess certain qualifications under the Act. He should be an Indian Citizen, completed the age of 21 years and has acquired a law degree. The application for enrollment shall be forwarded to Enrollment Committee which shall organize the application considering the opinion of Bar Council of India.
An ordinary person who is not an advocate shall be permitted by the court or concerned authority to appear before it for presenting a case. However, a person shall be allowed to practice before a court simply if he is enrolled as an advocate. The Act confers power on the High Court to prescribe rules enabling an advocate to practice in High Court and inferior Courts.
Where an advocate is found guilty of misconduct, the Bar Council of India shall refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee. The Committee after conducting inquiry shall either discharge the complaint or warn the advocate. Similar power is vested with the Bar Council of States. An appeal shall be preferred to the Supreme Court against the order of the Committee within sixty days by an aggrieved person. The Act penalizes a person practicing before a Court who actually not legally bound to practice.
The Act bars the institution of legal proceedings against the Bar Council or the Committee for the proceedings done in conformity with its provisions. Consequently, the Advocates Act is a comprehensive legislation standardizing all the provisions for the benefit of legal practitioners. The fundamental highlight of the Act is conferring Bar Council of India as the highest legalized authority to control the legal vocation. The Act maintains proficient standard by legal practitioners all over the country.