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AIBE revenues: Rs 6 cr; ITES might earn Rs 2 cr | ‘Simple questions’ will be asked & more

AIBE: 'No objections raised'
AIBE: 'No objections raised'
Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Manan Kumar Mishra revealed in an interview with legal website Bar & Bench today that its All India Bar Exam (AIBE) contractor ITES Horizon could get paid up to Rs 2.1 crore ($378,000) for assisting with the exam, while parts of BCI revenues from the exam would go to the welfare of lawyers.

He added that the BCI would not provide any study materials this time and would release model questions three or four days before the exam on 9 December.

Mishra defended that the fees of the exam, which is compulsory if a law graduate wishes to practice in court, had increased to Rs 1,900 from Rs 1,400 from the last exam in January because the expenditure of the BCI and state bar councils had increased, including advertisements and staff costs. He said:

The students have raised no objections. Otherwise the number of candidates appearing for the upcoming exam would not have increased to about 35,000. Only some particular elements with vested interests are raising bogus allegations and objections […]

Part of the income the BCI received would go towards the welfare of lawyers because the BCI had duties under the Advocates Act without government grants, he said. “Therefore, this increase cannot be questioned.”

ITES Tender

ITES Horizon, the company which the BCI instructed to assist on the AIBE and that introduced part-online registrations for candidates, would get paid Rs 600 per candidate, Mishra told Bar & Bench.

At 35,000 test takers this would work out to Rs 2.1 crore for the company.

Mishra did not disclose in the interview whether ITES would be entitled to revenue for those repeating the AIBE and are therefore paying reduced fees of Rs 1,400.

In the 8 January 2012 AIBE, a total of 10,104 candidates did not pass the exam out of the 24,844 who enrolled. Total revenues for the upcoming AIBE, could therefore be more than Rs 6 crore (Rs 4.7 cr for first-time test takers, and Rs 1.4 cr for repeat examinees).

This nearly approaches the aggregate Rs 6.9 crore figure that was netted in the previous three AIBEs, of which the previous contractor Rainmaker was entitled to around 70 per cent, or almost Rs 5 crore (Rs 900 per examinee).

Mishra noted that ITES had been one of five agencies that applied to conduct the AIBE and the contract was awarded by the “All India Bar Committee”. In September 2012 he had told Legally India that ITES was instructed outside the tendering process, which included four companies including Rainmaker and Pearson Vue.

He noted ITES had been “in service” for the past 13 years and “had relevant experience” to conduct an exam such as the AIBE. The bar exam website went offline for three days on 20 November, and Legally India has not been able to reach anyone at ITES for comment since then.

Prepared is forewarned

Mishra also added:

See, for writing the CLAT the total fee is Rs. 3,500, but nobody is raising his or her voices against this. All this hue and cry is being made for the AIBE fee of Rs. 1,900. Only a few persons who could not succeed in the tender are doing this. They are setting up persons and making these bogus objections through the media. We were ignoring it, but now they are crossing the limit.

We also found that these people were selling all the study material and the model question papers for AIBE for Rs. 2,800. We don’t want a shop should be set up for this (AIBE) and therefore we won’t be giving out any study material this time. These people are trying to pressurize ITES Horizon and the BCI to give the model question papers on the website.

We are not giving out any study material. The students will be asked simple questions from their LL.B course and no other study material or model questions is required. We will issue our model questions 3-4 days before the exam just to make the students acquainted with the pattern and nothing else. We have already disclosed the syllabus which includes the subject list and marks for each subject.

Full disclosure: Legally India has an interest in www.Barhacker.in, which has been selling AIBE preparation courses since the first AIBE.

Those are now priced at Rs 2,800 and include an index to the preparation materials from previous exams, so it stands to reason Mishra is referring to BarHacker.

For the record, no one connected with BarHacker has ever pressurised ITES or the BCI to disclose the model question paper, no one connected to BarHacker has ever tendered or tried to tender for any work from the BCI, and all of Legally India’s reports in connection with the AIBE have carried a ‘full disclosure’ notice and have endeavoured to be independent journalism based on the facts available at the time. BarHacker never sold or provided the original preparatory materials to anyone (and these were freely available on the BCI website anyway).

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BarHacker only ever sold separate indexes to the original materials (plus mock exams and other tips and tools). The original materials were meant to be provided to applicants free of charge by the BCI (until the announcement last week). The materials are also copyrighted, so BarHacker could not legally (and did not) provide any of those materials.
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