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Bar exam sign-up extended to 15 Nov; GLC Bombay HC writ admitted

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has extended the All India Bar Exam registration date, which elapsed last Sunday, by another 15 days to 15 November as the exam is still scheduled to be held on 5 December.

The change was announced in a BCI press release today.

Bar Council of India (BCI) spokesperson Gopal Sankaranarayanan said: “Many candidates and State Bar Councils have requested the Bar Council of India to extend the date for registration (which ended on 31st October). As a result, BCI has decided to extend that date to 15th November.”

He added: “More than 21,000 graduates have registered so far for the Exam. This is out of those who have enrolled after graduating in the last year. There are several who never enrol after obtaining their law degrees, and so, to consider the registered candidates out of the total number of law graduates would not be accurate.”

Last week, according to sources only between around 12,000 and 15,000 students had registered for the exam.

Sankaranarayanan added that prizes would be awarded for the top three positions in the bar exam in the names of M.K.Nambyar, N.A.Palkhivala and Justice H.R.Khanna.

Citing unnamed law ministry sources the Times of India reported today that the law ministry had “categorically told the BCI” to not conduct the test this year, although BCI chairman Gopal Subramanium had said that he was unaware of such communication. [Note: In the same report the Times of India had mis-stated the bar exam date as 15 December, which was a typographical error and the examination date remains unchanged at 5 December.]

New Bombay High Court writ petition admitted

Last week three GLC Mumbai graduates filed a writ petition against the bar exam in the Bombay High Court, as reported by a number of news organisations.

Legally India can now reveal that Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice DY Chandrachud admitted the case but declined to grant interim relief to the petitioners Kayval Shah, Karan Adhik and Utkarsh Muzumdar.

Through their advocates and KJSV partner Mohan Jayakar, together with Prafulla Shah and Pankaj Sutar they had challenged the BCI’s resolution of 5 June 2010 that introduced the mandatory bar exam for the 2010 graduating batch of law students. The petitioners claimed that the resolution was arbitrary and ultra vires to the Advocates Act, 1961 and in violation of Articles 14 19(1) g of the Constitution of India.

They also submitted that course materials had not yet been made available by the BCI.

KJSV said in a statement: “The Petition as filed in the Hon’ble High Court at Bombay is the only Petition amongst various petition which are filed all over India to be admitted by the Court. It is implied that there is a prima facie violation of right of the Petitioners/students by the Bar Council of India as The Hon’ble High Court, Bombay has admitted the Petition.”

Additional solicitor general DJ Khambatta appeared for the first Respondent, the Union of India. Khambatta submitted that transfer petitions were pending before the Supreme Court on the same issue. Those apex court cases are currently on hold due to Diwali court vacations and delays in serving all the respondents.

The judges said in the order: “If there is any substance in the grievance voiced on behalf of  the petitioners regarding non-availability of the course material,  the Central Government as well as  the Bar Council of India will certainly take necessary remedial steps well in time.”

Download the Bombay High Court order dated 27 October here.

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