Become a Lawyer
Merely obtaining a law degree, i.e. LL.B. does not entitle one to practice law as an advocate. There are some basic challenges of bureaucracy you must overcome in order to actually practice law. The legal profession in India is regulated by the Advocates Act, 1961 which in turn provides for the creation of Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils. To enter the profession as a practising lawyer, one has to enrol himself/herself as an advocate with any State Bar Council. Interestingly, there are only 18 State Bar Councils although there are 28 States in India.
What are the eligibility criteria?
Section 24 of the Advocates Act specifies the qualifications of a person entitled to be enrolled into the Bar. The section states that a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an advocate on a State roll, if he fulfills the following conditions:
- He is a citizen of India, although a national of any other country may be admitted as an advocate on a State roll, if citizens of India, duly qualified, are permitted to practise law in that other country, subject to other restrictions (however, currently BCI has not permitted lawyers of any other country to practice in India).
- He has completed the age of twenty-one years.
- He has obtained a degree in law after the 12th day of March, 1967, after undergoing a course of study in law from any University in India which is recognised for the purposes of the Advocates Act by the Bar Council of India. If a lawyer has obtained a degree from any foreign university, such a person may be admitted only if the degree is recognised by the Bar Council of India.
Please note that the student has to get himself/herself enrolled with the State Bar Council in order to be eligible to appear for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE). Once the student has cracked the AIBE, he/she is eligible to practice law in the respective court.
Note that only the students graduating from the academic year 2009-10 onwards are required to write the Bar Exam, and earlier lawyers did not have to write this exam. Those students who graduated before the notification of 2009-10 do not have to give the exam even if they enrol now.
Eligible persons are admitted as advocates on the rolls of the State Bar Councils. The Advocates Act, 1961 empowers State Bar Councils to frame their own rules regarding enrolment of advocates.
Power with the State Bar Council
The State Council’s Enrolment Committee may scrutinise a candidate’s application. Those admitted as advocates by any State Bar Council are eligible for a Certificate of Enrolment. All applicants for enrolment as advocates are required under Section 24 (1) (f) of the Advocates Act, 1961 to pay an enrolment fee of Rs.600/- (Rupees Six hundred only) to the respective State Bar Council and Rs.150/- (Rupees One hundred Fifty only) to the Bar Council of India. These payments should be made using separate demand drafts.
Different state bar councils have formulated their own rules regarding enrolment as an advocate. However, most of the State Bar Council requires the candidate to submit an application along with the degree of law and mark-sheets along with judicial Stamp paper and requisite fees.
However, the amount of money is not confined to the Rs. 750-/ as far as the different state bar councils are concerned. There are several other fees, insurance premiums, Gazette Notification costs, Advocate’s Card costs etc. involved, which brings the total amount required close to Rs. 4000/- to Rs. 5000/-, and sometimes more, depending on the state where one gets enrolled.
Important: Those engaged in service or business cannot enrol
A person who is otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate, but is either in full or part-time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession shall not be admitted as an advocate.
All the papers for enrolment should be presented before the Secretary, Bar Council, in person on the days designated by the respective state bar council.
When BCI started the AIBE, they also opened a telephonic helpline to clarify all doubts with respect to enrolment with the bar. However, this number is rarely reachable.
Helpline numbers for information about the All India Bar Examination.
The numbers are: 011-49225022 (English) or 011-49225023 (Hindi)
The timings for the helpline numbers are: 10.30 am – 1 pm (Morning) 2 pm – 4.30 pm (Evening)
You can also write in with your queries to [email protected].
Once you are done with registration with the State Bar Council, you can appear in the All India Bar Examination and after passing the exam, you can finally practice.
How to enrol with state bar councils
Below is the list of Bar Councils in India and hyperlinks of a selected few that would take you to detailed procedure for enrolment in those state bar councils.
Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh –
Official website: http://www.barcouncilap.org/
Contact No.: (040) 6685 9885, 6685 4785.
Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram & Arunachal Pradesh – Click here to know how to enrol
Official website: http://www.barcouncilassametc.org/aboutus.htm
Contact No.: (0361) 2544663, 2734840, 099545-46004.
Bar Council of Bihar –
No Official website, Blog Available: http://biharstatebarcouncil.blogspot.in/
Contact No.: (0612) 2505583, 2221125.
Bar Council of Chhattisgarh
No Official website, Information available on: http://www.lawtoday.in/5.php
Contact No.: (07752) 410169, 413500.
Bar Council of Gujarat – Click here to know how to enrol
Official website: http://www.barcouncilofgujarat.org/
Contact No.: (079) 27663460, 27434073.
Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh
No Official website, Information available on: http://www.lawtoday.in/8.php
Contact no.: (0177) 2812017.
Bar Council of Kerala
Official website: http://www.barcouncilkerala.com/
Contact No.: (0484) 2394195, 2393810.
Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh
Official website: http://sbcofmp.org.in/
Contact No.: (07662) 250638.
Bar Council of Odhisa
Official website: http://odishabarcouncil.org/
Contact No.: (0671) 2507885, 2508453.
Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana
No Official website, Information available on: http://www.lawtoday.in/15.php
Contact No.: (0172) 2688519, 2688507.
Bar Council of Rajasthan
Official website: http://barcouncilofrajasthan.org/
Contact No.: (0291) 2545066, 2545251.
Bar Council of Tamil Nadu
Official website: http://barcounciloftamilnadu.org/
Contact No.: (044) 2534 2739.
Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh
No Official website, Information available on http://www.lawtoday.in/17.php
Contact No.: (542) 2508658, 2382805
Bar Council of West Bengal
Official website: http://wbbarcouncil.org/
Contact No.: (033) 2248 8956, 2248 7233, 2230 5771
High Court of Jammu and Kashmir
There is no State Bar Council, powers are vested in the High Court.
Many PILs have also been filed by lawyers to constitute a State Bar Council.
Interestingly, there is a website (http://www.ajkbarcouncil.com/), which claims to have a Bar Council for Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
State Bar Councils without Official websites:-
- Bar Council of Bihar
- Bar Council of Chhattisgarh
- Bar Council of Delhi
- Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh
- Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana
- Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh
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