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Revealed: Bar exam earned BCI up to Rs 70 cr ($10m) revenues in 6 years from nearly 3 lakh candidates

AIBE helped BCI tap $1.6m from law grads every year
AIBE helped BCI tap $1.6m from law grads every year

The Bar Council of India (BCI) earned between Rs 59 to Rs 70 crore in fees from nearly 300,000 bar exam candidates since March 2011, a right to information (RTI) response, filed by Mohit Gupta, a Delhi University LLB student, has revealed.

Gupta had filed the RTI request with the law ministry in March 2017, which was referred to the BCI in June, requesting reasons for the latest increase in fees by 40% early this year; the BCI had stonewalled that request by claiming that reasons were not covered under RTI, as we reported last month.

However, the BCI disclosed the total number of candidates who appeared in each of the 10 editions of the All India Bar Examination (AIBE), along with the registration fee it charged during each edition.

2.9 lakh candidates appeared for the exam in the six years of its existence.

We have estimated a revenue range, the upper limit of which is based on the assumption that every candidate paid the fee for fresh registration, while the lower limit was calculated assuming that every candidate was a repeat exam taker or member of scheduled castes or tribes (SC/ST).

AIBERevenue range (Rs)DateCandidatesFee (Rs)Retake fee (Rs)
12.6 cr6.3.2011198021300NA
20.8 - 1.5 cr24.7.2011117521300700
32.1 - 3 cr8.1.2012234521300900
44.7 - 6.6 cr9.12.20123360819501400
53 - 4.2 cr25.8.20132166819501400
65.6 cr19.1.20142178225602560
76.9 cr7.9.20142676825602560
87.8 cr24.5.20153047625602560
910.4 cr6.3.20164059225602560
1015.3 cr26.3.20175959235602560
Total59.1 - 69.8 cr289,492

The retake fee for AIBE X in the retake column is not the retake fee but the fee that SC/ST category candidates were charged. There was no concession offered to repeat exam takers in AIBE X.

While the number of candidates appearing for the exam grew three times since its first edition up to its last, the fee charged for its registration nearly tripled.

The gaps between the conduct of the bar exams also grew: AIBE II was conducted more than 4 months after the first AIBE, AIBE III came almost 6 months later, 11 months later was AIBE IV, AIBE V was more than 9 months hence, the gap reduced a bit to almost five months for AIBE VI, but was back at almost 8 months for AIBE VII, more than 8 months for AIBE VIII, almost 10 months for AIBE IX and AIBE X came one year later.

AIBE fees have been hiked three times since its inception. The first hike in fees came during AIBE IV, the year BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra took the BCI chair for the first time and appointed contractor ITES Horizon to conduct the exam. The hike then was 50%.

The second hike in fees, by 31.2%, came two years later in AIBE VI.

The final, most recent hike of 40%, happened just before AIBE X.

For the first five editions of the bar exam there was a concession given to repeaters - the retake fee for AIBE II was less than half of that charged for fresh registration, for AIBE III it was increased slightly to Rs 900, and then for the next three bar exams it stood at Rs 1400.

The BCI published pass rates for the first three bar exams, on its website. 75% candidates had passed the first bar exam, 69% passed the second and 63% passed the third.

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