Baldev Raj Sharma submitted a writ petition under the 1989 decision governing
Article 32. It was against the Bar Council of Haryana and Punjab's decision to
deny his application to become an advocate. The Bar Council of India refused to
enroll the applicant on the grounds that they did not meet the requirements
under rule 1(1) (C) of the Rules of the Bar Council of India, which were created
in accordance with Sections 7(h) and (i), Section 24(1) (c) (iii) and (iii-a),
and Section 49(1) (d) of the Advocates Act, 1961.
According to Justice Pathak's ruling, the Bar Council of India has the ability
to deny applications if the requirements of the Advocates Act aren't met. The
difference between studying as a private student and as a regular student with
attendance, according to the court, is having attendance. It recognized the
value of attending law school, and the provision made it plain that frequent
attendance must be supported by hands-on training through moots and training
The petitioner in this case was only a third-year regular student at VSSD
College in Kanpur when he obtained his degree. He graduated from Kanpur
University's two-year bachelor of laws programme in 1981.
The fact that he
received his degree from Kurukshetra University as a private candidate was used
to deny him admission to the bar because the Advocates Act's attendance
requirements demanded that attendance be maintained continuously throughout the
term. It had seemed as though the state bar council had delayed rejecting the
application until after receiving the Bar Council of India's view.
The Supreme Court (SC) ruled that the Bar Council of India was correct to deny
the applicant's application since admission would have been against the law.
This brief examines the entire case in depth to demonstrate the BCI's rights in
declining to enroll as an advocate in a high court.
Primary Details Of The Case
Case No.: Civil Writ Petition No. 747 of 1985
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of India
Case Decided On: May 1, 1989
Legal Provisions Involved: The Advocates Act, 1961, Section 7, 24, 49; Rules of
Bar Council of India
Judges: Justice R S Pathak
Brief Facts Of The Case
The petition was filed by Baldev Raj Sharma, who had completed his law degree,
against Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana for the order rejecting his
application for enrolment as an advocate and later Bar Council of India. The
respondent in the case was Bar Council of India. He filed a civil writ petition
against the State Bar Council and they later passed the case to the Bar Council
of India. The respondent was hence the Bar Council of India which issued the
final order rejecting his application for enrolment as an Advocate.
Issues Involved In The Case
- Baldev Raj Sharma passed his B.A. exam in March, 1972 from Punjabi University. In 1978 he joined the Bachelor of Laws of 2 years duration in a private manner.
- In the year 1981 he was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Laws from Kurukshetra University. In 1981, petitioner joined Kanpur University in third year professional course for LL.B. The course had to be attended as a regular student. The most important fact in the case is that the two years from Kurukshetra University were without regular attendance.
- The petitioner contended that the rules of Kanpur University made no distinction on whether the General course of LL.B. has to be pursued by regular attendance or as a non-collegiate student.
- The petitioner also states that Kanpur University degree of LL.B. was a recognized degree and he attended all the requisite classes of LL.B. at the third year of Kanpur University.
- He gave the final examinations and was awarded the degree on July 22, 1982. Upon the successful completion he applied to be an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court and even paid the required fee.
- The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana denied the petitioner enrolment as an Advocate on April 26, 1983 on the basis of rules and provisions under Advocates Act, 1961.
- The reason under these rules was that the petitioner has obtained his degree of two years study from Kurukshetra University as a private student.
- On the receiving of the application the Bar Council had asked for the opinion of Bar Council of India. The Bar Council of India has similar opinions as the State Bar Council in this matter.
- BCI used the rules stating that the rules mentioned regular attendance in the three years course of studies. Considering that the petitioner has not fulfilled the following condition the State Bar Council is right in denying admission. The BCI believed that there was a clear difference between private candidate course and a course taught with compulsory and regular attendance.
Legal Aspects Involved In Case
- Does the Bar Council have the right to set regulations for law students
to enroll as lawyer after graduation?
The Bar Council rejected his application as per the Rules of Bar Council of
India which required the lawyer to study law from a college with a regular
course mandating attendance etc. According to section 24(1)(C)(iii) of the
Advocates Act a degree shall not be recognized post March 12, 1967, unless the
requisite condition is fulfilled including that the course of study in law has
been by regular, attendance at the requisite number of lectures, tutorials and
moot courts in a college recognized by a University.
A new set of BCI Rules
replaced these provisions in 1984 but they had rule 1(1) (c) which was similar
to section 24 and required mandatory attendance in a regular course for a law
degree to be valid. Section 24(1) (C) (iii) deals with the mandatory requirement
of attendance of a regular course which is required for the law degree to be
valid. The Advocates Act, 1961 talks about all the provisions which regulate the
validity of law degrees and enrolment as Advocate in State Bar Councils.
Judgement In Brief
The writ petition filed by Baldev Raj Sharma under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India against the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana order
rejecting his enrolment as an Advocate. The application was rejected under the
legal rules as the petitioner had not fulfilled the conditions laid down in Rule
1(1)(c) of the Rules of the Bar Council of India framed under S. 7(h) and (i),
S. 24(1)(c)(iii) and (iiia) and S. 49(1)(d).
The rules required regular
attendance which was missing as the petitioner had completed bachelors in law in
a two years private course then followed by one year of regular attendance. This
was different from the mandatory three years of regular attendance course. The
policy underlying the relevant provisions of the Bar Council Rules indicates the
great emphasis laid on regular attendance at the law classes. The conditions are
specifically spelt out when the Act is read along with the Rules.
When so read,
it is plain that a candidate desiring enrolment as an Advocate under the
Advocates Act must fulfil the conditions mentioned in S. 24(1)(c)(iii) or S.
24(1)(c)(iiia) read with Rule 1(1)(c) of the Bar Council of India Rules, 1975.
In the present case the petitioner failed to do so. It was held that his
application was rightly rejected by the Bar Council.
The petitioner has not completed the course according to the guidelines of the
Bar Council. The Bar Council had rules which had stated the requirement of
attendance accompanied with various activities like moot courts and tutorials
which encourage the practical aspect of legal education. It's an important case
dealing with the rules governing Advocates. The Advocates Act and its
interpretations are a matter of importance for law students and lawyers across
The SC recognized the power of BCI to make such rules and allowed
for the petition to be dismissed while agreeing that the rejection of the
application was rightful. It was also made clear that his enrolment would have
been in contravention with the clearly stated rules of Bar Council of India.
case shows the difference between pursuing law and practicing law. The
petitioner was pursuing law but did not have the right to practice law as an
advocate due to lack of fulfilling the required conditions. This case has been
cited in many cases and is a seminal case in terms of legal education. It's been
used in cases like Kiran Kumari v. Delhi University
to show the importance of
attendance in a law student's life. The case has been seminal to show how
private course is different from a regular course because of attendance.