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State Bar Council: Structure and functions

What are State Bar Councils?

Section 3 of The Advocates Act of 1961 established the State Bar Councils as statutory organisations to establish the laws governing the legal profession, and legal education in their respective fields. Every state must have a bar council, which must be known as the bar council of that state, according to Section 3 of the Advocates Act.

These were established as various councils for various states and union territories present in India. The state bar councils also act as a representative of the advocates of the respective state. The duties of the State Councils in each state are also outlined in Section 6 of the Advocates Act of 1961.

Structure of the State Bar Council:

According to the Section 3 of the Advocates Act, 1961, every state must have a bar council, which must be known as the bar council of that state, according to Section 3 of the Advocates Act.

A State Bar Council shall consist of the following members:

In the case of the State Bar Council of Delhi, the Additional Solicitor-General of India ex officio; and in the case of any other State Bar Council, the advocate-general of that state, ex officio.

Section 3 of the Act states that:

  • If the electorate is less than 5,000, the State Bar council must have 15 members.
  • If the electorate is between 5,000 and 10,000, there must be 20 members.
  • If there are more than 10,000 electorate, the Bar Council will consist of 25 people.

The State Bar Council's electoral roll of Advocates is used to elect the members of the Bar Council through a system of proportional representation using a single transferable vote. Each Bar Council shall have a Chairman and a Vice Chairman which shall be elected in a manner prescribed.

Functions of the State Bar Council
Section 6 of the Advocates Act, 1961 lays down the functions of the State Bar Council which are:
  1. To admit persons as advocates on its roll:
    The State Bar Council shall admit those advocates on its state roll those who are qualified to be admitted on state roll as per Section 25. Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 states the qualifications that need to be fulfilled by a person to be admitted as an advocate on a state roll which are:
    1. He must be a citizen of India
      (Provided that a national of any other country is permitted to practice in India as an advocate only if that country allows the nationals of India to practice as an advocate in that country, with due qualifications.)
    2. He must have completed the age of 21 years.
    3. He must have obtained a degree in law.
    4. He must have fulfilled all other conditions as specified by the State Bar Council.
    5. He has paid the stamp duty according to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and has paid the enrollment fee as prescribed by the State Bar Council.
  2. To prepare and maintain the state roll:
    According to Section 17, every State Bar Council shall prepare and maintain a roll of advocates along with their names and addresses. Such roll shall consist of senior advocates as well as other advocates.

    Section 18 states the power of the State Bar Council to transfer a name from its roll to another State Bar Council and every such State Bar Council shall send an authenticated copy of advocated prepared by it for the first time to the Bar Council of India, along with any alterations made to such roll.
  3. To determine and entertain the cases of misconduct by advocates admitted on its roll:
    Whenever the State Bar Council has a reason to believe or on a receipt of a complaint of any professional misconduct by an advocate admitted on its roll as an advocate, the State Bar Council refers the case to the disciplinary committee, as per Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
  4. To safeguard and protect the rights, priviledges and interests of advocates on its roll;
  5. To conduct seminars and talks on legal topics by some eminent jurists and publish journals;
  6. To manage and invest the funds of the State Bar Council;
  7. To organize the elections of its members;
  8. To visit and inspect universities and check whether or not they are functioning according to the directions given under sub-section 7(1)(i);
  9. And to perform any other function prescribed by the Advocates Act, 1961.

Apart from it, under section 6(2), the State Bar Councils are also empowered to constitute one or more funds for the purposes of:
  1. To provide financial aid to organize welfare schemes for indigent and disabled advocates;
  2. To provide legal aid;
  3. To establish law libraries.

Section 8 of the Advocates Act, 1961 mentions the term of office of an elected member of a State Bar Council which is 5 years from the date of publication of the result of election. And whenever any State Bar Council fails to conduct elections after the expiration of 5 years, the Bar Council of India, extend such term upto 6 months, by recording its reasons for the same in writing.

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