The Bar Council of India is a statutory body created by Parliament to regulate
and represent the Indian bar. We perform the regulatory function by prescribing
standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary
jurisdiction over the bar. We also set standards for legal education and grants
recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as qualification for
enrolment as an advocate.
In addition, we perform certain representative functions by protecting the
rights, privileges, and interests of advocates and through the creation of funds
for providing financial assistance to organize welfare schemes for them.
The Bar Council of India (BCI), headquartered at Delhi is a constitutional body
formed under the Advocates Act, 1961. BCI regulates legal education and
professional standards in India including directing the state bar councils,
standardizin law education, and course the framework at the universities and
law colleges in India as well as conducting the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) to
grant 'Certificate of Practice' to advocates practicing law in India. BCI also
funds welfare schemes for economically weaker and physically handicapped
advocates. The law graduates have to enroll with their state's bar council on
payment of Rs 600 and Rs 150 to the BCI.
Bar Council of India under its formation has been given powers to regulate many
things. Few major powers that BCI holds are divided amongst the committees set
up by the Advocates Act. Section 9 of the act sets up the Legal Education
Committee and under Section 10 an Executive Committee is set up. Chapter III of
the Bar Council of India Rules permits the Council to form more committees in
addition to those specified in the Act. The Council also has the power to
delegate the duties or functions to these committees.
- Legal Education Committee has the power to make recommendations to the
council for laying the standard of legal education. This committee also goes
for inspection to different universities and reports to BCI.
- Disciplinary Committee of BCI hears an application for revision by
persons against summary dismissal of their complaints against advocates for
professional misconduct, by the state bar councils.
- Executive Committee deals with all the questions related to the
management of funds, affairs of the staff, allotment of work, audit,
accounts, library, and legal publications delegation.
- Advocate Welfare Committee is empowered by the Advocates Welfare Act,
2001. This committee looks after the application procedure made by advocates
for welfare funds. It also verifies their application and provides the fund.
- Legal Aid Committee has the power to offer services to the poor, who
cannot afford the services of a lawyer. This committee gives the payment of
the court from the charges of preparing a case, drafting to filing the case.
- Other committees look after the infrastructure of the council's office
across the country.
- All these committees work under the BCI. BCI has the power to
discontinue of recognition of any University which is based on the
recommendation by the Legal Education Committee. BCI also hears every appeal
which is proceeded by the Disciplinary Committee.
- BCI has the power to conduct the All India Bar Examination (since
2010) wests an advocate's ability to practice law. An aan advocate must pass
this examination to practice law in any court.
- BCI also conducts the National Moot Court the competition promotes
advocacy skills amongst law students through Bar Council of India Trust (public
charitable trust). There is an Indian Bar Review which is a quarterly journal of
BCI and is among the top legal periodicals in the country.
Advocates Act, 1961 is the act that provides for the constitution of the Bar
Councils and an All-India Bar.
- Section 3 of the act talks about the State Bar Council whereas Section 4
the act talks about the existence of Bthe ar Council of India. Section 4 of
the act also talks about the members who will consist of structure BCI. The
Attorney- General of India and the Solicitor- General of India will be ex
officio. It also talks about that there will be one representative from each
State Bar Council.
- Section 5 of the act establishes that BCI will be a corporate body as
there will be perpetual succession and a common seal, and can it sue by the name
which it is known.
- Section 7 of the act mentions all the functions to be performed by BCI.
An amendment was made by Act 60 of 1973 and more functions were inserted in
Section 7. Section 7 also gives power to BCI to become a member of international
legal bodies, for example, the International Bar Association. The Act in Chapter
II states all about the council through different sections. Under Chapter II,
the constitution of the different committees, the criteria of disqualification
of members, a staff of Bar Council, etc. are mentioned.
- Bar Council of India Rules also laid our rules, which were made by BCI
in the exercise of its rulemaking power under the Advocates Act, 1961. Bar
Council of India Rules lays down the procedure for the election or the
termination of the members of the council. It also specifies the powers of the
chairman and vice-chairman of the council. Not only this it also talks about the
procedure of the meetings of the council or the meeting of the committees and
their reports. Chapter IV of the rules gives the qualification and conditions of
service of the secretary, accountant, and other members of the staff.
- All these sections and Advocates Act lays down the legal basis of BCI.
Functions of Bar Council:
The Bar Council of India was established by Parliament under the Advocates Act,
1961. The following statutory functions under Section 7 cover the Bar Council's
regulatory and representative mandate for the legal profession and legal
education in India:
- To lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for
- To lay down the procedure to be followed by its disciplinary committee
and the disciplinary committees of each State Bar Council.
- To safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates.
- To promote and support law reform.
- To deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred to it by a
State Bar Council.
- To promote legal education and to lay down standards of legal education.
This is done in consultation with the Universities in India imparting legal
education and the State Bar Councils.
- To recognize universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification
for enrolment as an advocate. The Bar Council of India visits and inspects
Universities, or directs the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect
Universities for this purpose.
- To conduct seminars and talks on legal topics by eminent jurists and
publish journals and papers of legal interest.
- To organize legal aid to the poor.
- To recognize a reciprocal basis, the foreign qualifications in law
obtained outside India for admission as an advocate in India.
- To manage and invest the funds of the Bar Council.
- To provide for the election of its members who shall run the Bar
The Bar Council of India can also constitute funds for the following purposes:
- Giving financial assistance to organize welfare schemes for poor,
disabled, or other advocates,
- Giving legal aid, and
- Establishing law libraries.
The Bar Council of India can also receive grants, donations, and gifts for any
of these purposes.
Eligibility for Enrollment of Advocates to the BCI:
The Advocates Act, 1961, Section 24, states the qualifications of an individual
permitted to enroll in the BCI. This the section stipulates that conditional on
the Act's provisions and the rules framed, an individual shall be qualified and
eligible to be enrolled as an advocate on a State roll if he/she meets the
prerequisites as below:
- They should be an Indian citizen; a resident of any other nation can be
permitted as an advocate on a State roll provided Indian citizens who are
duly qualified, are authorized to practice law in the other nation, subject
to other limitations.
- They should be a minimum of 21 years.
- They have obtained a law degree after completing three years of law
course from any university within India that is recognized for the objective
and intent of the Act by the BCI. In a few cases, an advocate who has gained a
degree from any University outside India, and if the degree is recognized for
the objective and the intent of this Act by the BCI, he may be admitted.
- They must satisfy such other prerequisites as stipulated in the rules
made by BCI
- At present, an Ian individual who desires to get enrolled as an advocate
has to first clear the BCI exam. Subsequently, the person can enroll
himself/ herself under any State Bar Council (SBC). Eligible individuals are
admitted as advocates on the rolls of the SBCs. The Advocates Act empowers SBCs
to formulate their own rules concerning the enrolment of advocates. The
Council's enrolment committee will examine a candidate's application.
Different SBCs have framed their own rules concerning enrolment as an advocate.
Nevertheless, many of the SBCs require candidates to apply together with their
law degree and mark sheets along with a judicial stamp paper and necessary fees.
- The candidates have to send the application fee for enrollment with SBC
and BCI through the separate Demand Drafts to each.
- Those admitted as advocates by any SBC are eligible to take the AIBE
that is conducted by the BCI. Passing the AIBE grant state-enrolled advocates
with a Certificate of Practice (COP) that facilitates them in practicing law as
an advocate in any the ower court and High Court within the Indian territory.
All India Bar Examination:
AIBE is a national level exam that is organized by the BCI and has been designed
with fulfilling the objective to assess the capability of advocates who have a
strong desire to practice law in India. This examination is conducted
semi-annually and tests advocates on procedural and substantive law. The AIBE
will appraise skills at a fundamental level and fix a minimum benchmark for
admission to practice law. After passing the examination, the candidate will be
awarded the Certificate of Practice (CoP) by the BCI, and they become eligible
to practice law in India.
The Bar Council of India has plenty of capacities vested inside itself, whereby
practicing those capacities can rebuild and reframe the entire legal field in
the nation. Indeed, it very well may be all the more overwhelmingly visualized,
that in present-day times it has scarcely contributed valuably to the
improvement of law in India. Bar Council of India is working effectively,
although there have been talks related to an increase in the power of BCI to
ensure more effective command over the law as a profession. Meetings are held
regularly to ensure the smooth functioning of BCI.