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State bar councils speak out against bar exam, to support writ petitions

The bar council of Maharashtra and Goa said today that it would oppose the proposed all India bar exam after a decision reached by 11 chairmen of different state bar councils on 31 July, although the body admitted that unless the Bar Council of India (BCI) or a court intervened the exam would go ahead.

The Maharashtra and Goa bar council was opposing the examination "by adopting legal modes and methods and their representation to Bar Council of India as well as before the Apex Supreme Court", it said at a press conference in Mumbai today (10 August).

The state bar council argued that the exam would not improve the quality of lawyers, that the BCI had not taken the consent of state bar councils, and that the exam would disadvantage this year's law graduates and graduates from rural areas and "weak economic conditions".

"[On 31 July] the chairmen of 11 state bar councils had a meeting at Hyderabad, in which they have decided to oppose the said examination," added a press statement from the Maharashtra and Goa bar council while chairman Jayant Jaibhave added that a total of 13 out of 18 state bar councils opposed the exam.

"However, it is made clear that Bar Council of India being apex body, unless and until the said examination is stayed by the apex body or any appropriate order is obtained from the court of law, all law graduates passed in the academic year of 2009-2010 will be under obligation to undergo the said examination," said the statement.

Jaibhave added that the Maharashtra and Goa bar council would file an affidavit supporting the writ petitions challenging the bar exam.

Last week the Supreme Court rejected such a case and noted that a single high court should hear the more than 10 writ petitions against the BCI filed in various Indian courts.

The BCI was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

Today's press conference was also the first formal introduction to Mumbai's media of the newly constituted make-up of the Maharashtra and Goa bar council, as reported by Legally India last week.

The bar council said today that it would aim to reduce the pendency of cases and increase the value of law for society by strengthening district courts and taluka courts, as well as free legal aid.

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