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Nearly 300 Ma students attend bar exam case #7; All may be clubbed into SC's Bonnie FOI as state BCs investigate

A High Court bench in Maharashtra has ordered the petitioner students of Manikchand Pahade Law College to join the Bar Council of India vs Bonnie FOI Law College and Ors proceedings to set aside their grievances against the all india bar examination while it is understood that the BCI has written to the CJI to seek transfer of such pending petition to the Supreme Court (SC).

Nearly 300 students of the college had assembled in the court premises yesterday according to students to await the outcome of final arguments in the writ petition 5269/2010 filed by law students Sunil Shamlal Bhagure and nine others before the Aurangabad division bench consisting of justices P V Hardas and N D Deshpande.

The petitioners' counsel Satish Talekar said yesterday: "The matter was heard for three days continuously and unfortunately for us today they passed an order granting time till 9 August to apply before the SC on the statement made by the BCI’s counsel.

"The counsel appearing for the BCI stated that there was some order [Bonnie FOI] made by Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging the BCI and that SLP [Special Leave Petition] is posted for hearing on the 30 July."

The Bonnie FOI case concerned BCI inspections of law colleges, with the case reaching the Supreme Court in 2008 where the bench also addressed issues related to general legal education reform to improve standards.

Talekar explained: "So the judges said that if the same issue is pending before the SC [Supreme Court Bonnie FOI case] then judicial discipline propriety demands that they must refrain from hearing the matter unless there is an order passed under Article 145 by the SC transferring all the petitions to SC."

"Unless such an order is passed you can’t refuse to hear the matter and abdicate judicial power," said Talekar. "Now all the petitions will be heard together."

Assistant Solicitor General and standing counsel Alok Sharma appeared for the BCI.

The writ petition was filed on 18 June by ten students of Manikchand Pahade Law College following the BCIs announcement to hold an entry level exam to practice law in the country on 5 December.

Petitioner student Avinash told Legally India that students were very disappointed.

The BCI's decision to hold the all India bar exam has faced stiff opposition by the student community with at least six reported writ petitions already filed in different high courts of the country ever since the bar exam was announced on 2 June.

BCI chairman and Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium had commented on the legality of these writ petitions in interview with Legally India, published Tuesday.

He said: "I am clear in my mind that it's legal and constitutional," an said. "We are planning to also get these petitions transferred to the Supreme Court because [the petitions are all] dealing with one aspect."

Meanwhile, the Bar Council of Delhi has formed a three-member committee consisting of Amit Sharma, Rakesh Tiku and Puneet Mittal to draft a white paper to look into the legality of bar exam.

The Delhi Bar Council's Mittal told Legally India: "We are examining the issue: there are some serious problems to be addressed and we'll be discussing alternate solutions and other state bar councils have also worked on it, but prima facie it is contrary to the SC judgement in V Sudeer."

Meanwhile, the National Delegation of Law Students led by Amity Law School student Siddharth Seth had approached the State Bar Council for support through a representation based on legal principles involved in this whole issue.

Seth said: "Almost all state Bar Councils have opposed this exam on one ground or the other, some have passed resolutions against it, several legal luminaries have raised questions, many academicians are also worried, final year students throughout the country are unanimously requesting that it should be called off and even the BCI has partially accepted that it is causing hardship."

Download the Aurangabad writ petition here.

Picture by Eflon

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