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Bar Council of India (BCI)

14 May 2010

Legally India newsletterIndian legal education finds itself at a pivotal time, with repercussions beyond just the student community. Yesterday, a number of NUJS Kolkata final year students led by professor Shamnad Basheer petitioned the Bar Council of India (BCI) to postpone the new bar exam until 2011, instead of holding it in August as originally envisaged.

Today, in a surprise U-turn, the BCI has agreed to push back the exam to December 2010.

14 May 2010

exam-study_by_umjanedoanThe Bar Council of India (BCI) has agreed to postpone the planned bar exam to December, BCI counsel KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court today in the case BCI v Bonnie FOI Law College & Ors, admitting the logistical challenge of holding the exam before September in a surprise U-turn.

13 May 2010

examination-hall_by_comedy-noseThe new bar exam for law graduates is understood to be held in late August with the Bar Council of India (BCI) set to announce the syllabus in a matter of days. Meanwhile, NUJS Kolkata final year students and Professor Shamnad Basheer have petitioned BCI chairman and solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam to postpone the exam until 2011 because they argue it prejudices students and is unconstitutional without amending the Advocates Act 1961.

23 April 2010

SG-Gopal-Subramanium_KIIT-cropThe Bar Council of India (BCI) has been pivotal in the debate on the entry of foreign law firms. The Solicitor general and newly elected BCI chairman Gopal Subramaniam tells Legally India about what has to happen before foreign lawyers can practice here.

19 April 2010

SG-Gopal-Subramanium_KIIT-cropSolicitor general and newly elected Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Gopal Subramaniam talks to Legally India about his top priorities and pushes for a bar exam and continuing legal education, in this first part of a two-part interview.

16 April 2010

Legally India newsletterThe Bar Council of India (BCI) has a new chairman.

Unusually, this time the BCI did not select someone from amongst their elected midst but opted for ex-officio BCI member and solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam. The SG has ambitious plans such as the introduction of an Indian bar exam.

But for foreign firms hoping for a change in breeze with a new administration, the forecast remains uncomfortable. Much like Delhi and Mumbai's heat at the moment.

12 April 2010
Solicitor general of India and ex-officio Bar Council of India (BCI) member Gopal Subramanium was unanimously elected to serve as the BCI chairman for two years, following Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha in the position.
23 February 2010

Bar-Council-Delhi-KK-SareenK K Sareen has been elected chairman and Jaiveer Nagar vice-chairman of the Delhi Bar Council while Rajinder Singh Rana has been declared member delegate for the Bar Council of India (BCI).

19 January 2010

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that the Bar Councils of India too are subject to Right to Information Act (RTI), following hot on the heels of the Office of the Chief Justice of India last week falling under the Act last week.

Various papers reported that the Bar Councils would now come under the purview of RTI.

"It is held that the Bar Councils - Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils - are public authorities within the RTI Act... the Bar Councils are directed to take all necessary steps to carry out their duties and responsibilities assigned by the RTI Act," information commissioner AN Tiwari told Indian daily DNA.

Although the BCs admitted they were statutory bodies (under the Advocates Act), they denied that they were public authorities and funded wholly or partially by the state. They therefore objected to being subject to transparency requirements.

The CIC would have none of it, for the following reasons.

So, good news, the BCI now has to answer RTI requests. How well they will and whether they will get drowned in applications is another question.

More interestingly, however, what would you really really like to know about the inner workings of your Bar Councils (of India or otherwise)?

12 January 2010

Calcutta University students are still waiting for their LLB exams as the University has not finalised its the new exams as required by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

Local Kolkata paper the Telegraph wrote today that although exams were meant to be held in December 2009, the Calcutta University had not yet ratified the new syllabus and examination rules at the highest level.

The paper wrote that: "A senior CU official alleged that the authorities were reluctant to approach the syndicate because of 'loopholes' in the [BCI's] suggestions."

Intriguing.

As far as I understand most law schools have implemented the new BCI rules. Have they made any difference to your lives?

28 October 2009

IyerThomas-ElizabethSheshadriA quiet but happy revolution is taking place at the Indian Bar, argues Elizabeth Seshadri. But while the lethargic acceptance of the legal system's decay is slowly being shaken off, the pace of change must increase drastically.

21 September 2009

Law minister Veerappa Moily has weighed into the debate over who should regulate legal education, opposing Human Resources Development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal's wide-ranging plans to take control of the sector.

The Times of India reported yesterday that Moily said: "So far as introducing an academic course is concerned, we have no objection. But when it comes to setting standards of legal education, the law ministry has to consider. That is the domain of the law ministry."

This follows the Bar Council of India (BCI) disapproving of the HRD's move to take control of legal education.

In Moily the BCI will have found a powerful political ally to retain its current remit.

11 September 2009

Prof_Menon_thProf Madhava Menon has rallied behind the ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), which has campaigned for curtailing the Bar Council of India's (BCI) legal education remit.

07 September 2009

BarCouncil-Sinha_thThe Bar Council of India (BCI) is displeased about plans to take away legal education from its ambit by the ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).

16 July 2009

BarCouncil-Sinha_thBar Council of India chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha has responded to Legally India readers' comments to our interview with him of two weeks ago. He argues that top law students are depriving the bar and bench of talent by joining law firms and pleads that all lawyers should aim high in their careers.

08 July 2009

BarCouncil-Sinha_thIt turns out not all lawyers are against being charged service tax...

The Bar Council of India for one has come out in favour of the tax change that was introduced in Monday's budget, which meant that for the first time ever, Indian lawyers will be deemed to provide a service - something that clients will no doubt applaud after years of being palmed off with mere professional advice.

BCI chairman SNP Sinha told the Business Standard he thought it was a great idea that law firms would finally be taxed.

"The government of India has taken a wise decision by imposing tax," he said. "In the wake of the recently passed Limited Liability Partnership Act, foreign law firms are making (back-door) entry through joint ventures and collaboration. Thus they are justified in imposing tax."

Perhaps crucially, the tax change will not affect individual practitioners or those rendering services to - sorry, advising - individuals.

Unsurprisingly, the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) was not happy. The body's president Lalit Bhasin told the daily paper: "It is a (retrograde) step.

"Instead of helping, strengthening and promoting Indian law firms, the government is trying to substantially weaken them, and they are facing the threat of entry of foreign firms in the country."

Thanks to islandexpress who first tweeted the Business Standard article.

29 June 2009

BarCouncil-Sinha_thLegally India caught up with Bar Council of India chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha last week. We asked him about legal education, Australian racism and why allowing foreign law firms to practice here is a bad idea.

23 June 2009

BarCouncil-Sinha_thThe Bar Council of India wants to tackle the growth of private legal education providers by closing colleges which do not provide an adequate standard of legal training to budding lawyers.

12 June 2009

In our second newsletter we summarised the top events of the week, which saw IPOs, M&A, politics and family-ties. Click below to read on and enter your details here to get the next one straight to your inbox:

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12 June 2009 - Mumbai monsoon has been postponed by a week, said the Met Office...

11 June 2009

Law-Minister-Veerappa-Moily_thumb_lnd_thumbThe Bar Council of India has cemented its strong opposition to the entry of foreign law firms after its first official meeting with new Minister of Law and Justice Veerappa Moily, reported news wire Bloomberg today.

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