Public Interest Litigation in Madras High Court to Challenge BCI Rules on Five Year Prerequisite to Practice Before SC

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In the High Court of Madras, a Public Interest Litigation was moved to question the five year rule applied by the Bar Council of India to practice before the Supreme Court. The petitioner in this case is Advocate Akshai Mani and Advocate Naveen Kumar Murti will be appearing for the petitioner before the Court. The petitioner has questioned the validity of Rule 7 as provided under Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014 formulated by the Bar Council of India. The rules makes it compulsory for all the lawyers to have 2 years practice before the subordinate Courts and 3 years practice in the High Courts to enable him to practice before the hon’ble Apex Court.

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According to the petitioner, the rules violate Article 14 (Right to equality), Article 19 (1) (g) (Right to practice any profession, trade or occupation) and Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) in addition to Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961. The advocate for the petitioner further submitted that Section 30 gives the right to practice which has been rooted out from Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution and where any reasonable restriction is to be imposed under Article 19(6), the BCI have to make necessary changes to the Advocates Act by way of amendment. He further stated that the Certificate of Practice Act, 2014 is similar to that of Supreme Court of India Rules, 2013 which gives eligibility norms to be Advocates on record in the Supreme Court.

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Hence, the rules framed are against the constitution, arbitrary and unreasonable. The petitioner tried to satisfy the Court that such rules have created negative remarks on the budding lawyers who decide to carry on their profession before the Apex Court even though opportunities are open to them in the law firms, LPOs etc. On the above mentioned grounds, he requested the Court to declare the rule as unconstitutional and against legal principles. The Court had posted the case to Monday and the matter will be heard by the hon’ble Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.