BCI not bound grant advocacy licence: Supreme Court

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Supreme Court of India

TheĀ Bar Council of India (BCI) has been informed by the Supreme Court that the Council is not bound to grant licence to practice law unless an applicant fulfills the criteria laid down by it.

A Law graduate from Mumbai University, Archana Girish Sabnis, was denied the license to practice law by the BCI as her degree of Licentiate of the Court of Examiners in Homeopathy Medicines (LCEH), awarded by Maharashtra Council of Homeopathy, was not equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.

A Bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and Abhay Manohar Sapre said “Pursuing law and practicing law are two different things. One can pursue law but for the purpose of obtaining licence to practice, he or she must fulfill all the requirements and conditions prescribed by the BCI. We do not find any reason to differ with the view taken by the High Court. In the facts of the case, we do not find any merit in the appeal, which is accordingly dismissed”.

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Archana stated that her admission in the LLB course was only allowed after the Mumbai University considered the LCEH degree equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree whereas the apex court allowed the plea of BCI that Mumbai University, while granting admission to Archana in LL.B course, was bound to consult the lawyers’ body instead of Homeopathy Council.

The Supreme Court cleared that the BCI has the independent power to decide about the admission and it is specifically empowered to make rules prescribing a minimum qualification required for admission for the course of degree in law from any recognised university.