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The Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926

The Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926 act was enacted on 9 September 1926 to provide for constitution and incorporation of Bar Councils 2 and other purposes which extends to whole of India including Union Territories Judicial Commissioners Courts but except for the State of Jammu and Kashmir it is not applied.

Section 2 of act explains about interpretation of words like Advocate, Advocate-General, High Court, and Prescribed. For every High Court a Bar Council is constituted and incorporated and it shall be a body corporate which has its own seal and has power to acquire movable and immovable property.  It can also sue and be sued in its name.

Bar Councils shall consist of 15 members one is an Advocate General, 4 nominated by High Court,10 elected advocates of High Court.  Five persons of Bar Council should have practised in High Court for 10 years to be its member. A Chairman and Vice-Chairman shall be elected by Council.  But Advocates-General of West Bengal, Madras, Maharashtra and Gujarat will have Chairman ex-officio of Bar Council for it. Special provisions with regard to constitution in first Bar Council is explained under Section 5 of the Act. Terms of office for elected members of first Bar Council, Powers to make rules regarding constitution and procedure of Bar Councils are explained under Section 6 of the Act. The term of office for elected members will be 3 years from date of first meeting of council.

Bar Council has the power to make bye-laws and rules under the Act. Appointment of such officers and their payments and condition of service and forming committees of Council and procedure of committees, powers and duties as such are stated under Section 7 of the Act.

If a person has to practise in High Court then his/her name has to be entered in roll of advocates of High Court under this Act. High Court maintains and prepares the roll of advocates which has details of the practising advocates, vakils, and pleaders. Such enrolled person has to pay enrolment stamp-duty under Indian Stamp Act 1899 and a fee to Bar Council.  Seniority basis entries are made and pre-audience rights of advocates are determined by seniority. Every enrolled person shall get a certificate of enrolment by High Court and a copy of it is sent to Bar Council.  All alterations and additions with regard to this shall be made by Bar Council.

Bar Council can make rules with regard to admission of persons to be an advocate of High Court and the High Court has the power to refuse any admission. Rules are made with regard to qualification for admission as an advocate, form and manner of application made to High Court, Notice to Bar Council on applications, Hearing by High Court, fees payable to Bar Council with regard to enrolment. Women cannot be disqualified for admission to be an advocate just on the basis of her gender. Some clauses that are repealed by Advocates Act 1961 in this Act are Punishment of advocate for misconduct, Tribunal of Bar Council, Procedure in inquiries, Powers of Tribunal with effect from 1963.

Section 14 states about right of advocates to practice in High Court under the provisions of the Act. Nothing will affect the power of the High Court of Judicature in Bengal or of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay to make rules under this Act.

General power of Bar council to make rules with regard to right and duties of advocates, conditions on which advocates can practice, giving legal education and training and conduct of Bar exams, investment and management of funds of Bar Council or any other matter which High Court deems fit.

High Court may fix fees payable as cost of any advocate. No Bar Council or Committee, Tribunal or member of Bar Council can be sued by any one for his/her act done in good faith under this Act. All rules has to be published in Official Gazette of the State when the High Court sanctions it. Amendment of the act has been discussed under section 19 of the Act.  With regard to States of Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Travancore-Cochin which started functioning before 1 November 1956 will be under High Courts of Corresponding New States of Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Kerala. But the Hyderabad and Saurashtra Bar councils are dissolved and their assets is transferred to Andhra Pradesh, Bombay and Mysore.

by Sushma Javare