An emergency meeting was called by the Bar Council of India on July 3 to discuss the issue of the All India Bar Exam. The Chairpersons of the State Bar Councils were called to discuss the impact of the AIBE and the petitions filed against the implementation of the AIBE. Sources indicate that three Chairpersons of the SBCs objected to the idea of AIBE being implemented from this academic year.
An emergency meeting was called by the Bar Council of India (BCI) on July 3 to discuss the issue of the All India Bar Exam (AIBE). The Chairpersons of the State Bar Councils (SBCs) were called to discuss the impact of the AIBE and the petitions filed against the implementation of the AIBE. Sources indicate that three Chairpersons of the SBCs objected to the idea of AIBE being implemented from this academic year.
The BCI is facing several writ petitions and PILs on its decision to conduct AIBE for all students from the academic year of 2009-2010. Apart from the writ petitions, several SBCs also have opposed this AIBE. Last week, Punjab & Haryana State Bar Council Chairman, Partap Singh Saran resigned, on the stake of the implementation of the AIBE.
Leading Hindi Daily, Dainik Bhaskar has reported that the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council has taken a firm stand against the AIBE. Rameshwar Neekhra, Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council, in a meeting on July 3 said, “The law students are facing a dilemma, of waiting for 8 months for the Bar exam and thereafter appearing and passing in it to get a license. The BCI and the State Bar Councils should take this matter seriously”.
Chairperson of the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council speaking to the media said, “Once the licence has been issued, how can we check or prevent any lawyer from practising in a District Court? The exam, if it has to be conducted, should be done before the licence is issued. Also, we asked the BCI to first bring in a unified syllabus for legal education and also de-list / derecognise law colleges that don’t have proper infrastructure”.
Stakeholder reactions to AIBE:
Vivek K. Tankha, Additional Solicitor General of India (Supreme Court) speaking to Bar & Bench said, “In my personal opinion, we are experiencing a lot of difficulties because of the Bar exam, which came up all of a sudden. It was late for the 2010 batch of law students as they passed their annual final year law course exams in the month of May this year and will have nothing to do for the next six months. Firstly, I fully support the idea of an AIBE. What I am concerned is about the time of this exam, instead of having it in December; the BCI should move it to June so that the students will not be unemployed for months. Secondly, the AIBE should be state specific as we cannot have a Bangalore (National Law Universities) standard as this might result having a 5 to 10 percent pass rate. Thirdly, before the implementation of AIBE, there should have been a larger consultation with all the stake holders. A national consensus should have been arrived at before declaring AIBE. The decision has been taken in haste and people are unhappy about it”.
Speaking with Bar & Bench before the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council's meeting convened, Ravi Nandan Singh, Ex-Advocate General of Madhya Pradesh said, “We have not yet passed a resolution regarding the Bar exam. This exam should not be held as the students of the 2010 batch are not prepared for it. The proper procedure is to send an order, get public opinion and then a legislation. Intellectuals should be involved. Students who were deciding to go in for litigation or the corporate sector, are now facing this hindrance of six months for the exam. This is not well thought of and has not been done with a proper exchange of ideas. It should go to the caste section of the society and conducted properly with awareness”.
The President of the National Delegation of Law Students, Siddharth S. Seth, said, “Time and again we have been saying that law students throughout the country will welcome any reforms to strengthen and upgrade our legal profession. But we will not allow policies which are unplanned, unsystematic and are implemented without due consultation among the members of this fraternity. The National Delegation last week approached several legal luminaries and also the Chairmen of several State Bar Councils. We are extremely thankful to all the State Bar Councils who have raised our concern before the BCI. We stand firm in our strategy and if within three weeks the Union Law Ministry and BCI do not call off the hastily announced National Bar Exam scheduled to take place on December 5, we will not only approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court seeking justice but will also resort to widespread peaceful agitation throughout the country. We are confident that the All India Bar Exam will not take place on December 5, 2010”.
Speaking with M.D. Joshi, Secretary of Legal Education and the Bar Council of India, who says, “The report on holding an emergency meeting on July 9 is factually inaccurate. There is no such meeting being held. We are conducting the exam as scheduled on December 5, 2010”.
Speaking with Professor V.B. Coutinho, Directorate of the Legal Education, who says, “The exam is being held on December 5, 2010 as planned. The AIBE is required as directed by the Supreme Court, and all the State Bar Councils have supported the BCI on this front, at the meeting held on July 3. The Chairman, Gopal Subramanium came up with brilliant ideas and no one opposed him. The issue regarding the several petitions in the various High Courts is going to be clubbed together and heard in the Supreme Court in the month of July”.
“We have the support from all the State Bar Councils and they have suggested certain problems faced by each, individually. Suggestions were also made on logistics, on holding the exam on subjects more in relation to Professional Ethics rather than Criminal Law or Law of Torts. There will be more consultation at the State level.
Reacting to Rainmaker conducting these exams, Prof. Coutinho said, “There was no one who went against the idea of Rainmaker conducting this exam”.
“The students reaction was that the AIBE will make the system uniform and all are happy with the decision of holding the Bar exam, this will judge them at a common platform”. He also added, “The students will be given 3 months to prepare and the result will be declared by December 31, 2010 i.e. less than a month from the date of the exam”.