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Testing times?

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For the first time, All-India Bar Examination (AIBE) will be held on December 5 for law graduates taking up practice. It is intended to check for eligibility, rather than expertise.

career path: Law graduates face a quality test
career path: Law graduates face a quality test

Law graduates intending to take up legal practice now have to pass an All-India Bar Examination (AIBE) to be conducted by the Bar Council of India on December 5. Every graduate after enrolment as lawyer in the respective State Bar Council will have to clear this examination, which will test skills and basic knowledge critical for a new entrant to the profession. It is intended to check for eligibility, rather than expertise.

Candidates may apply to appear for the examination only after enrolling as an advocate under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961, and will have to submit suitable proof of such enrolment along with the application form for the AIBE.

Once in six months

The All India Bar Examination is mandatory for all law students graduating from the academic year 2009-2010 onwards. The examination will be held once in six months and anyone failing in the first test can re-appear. AIBE will be conducted in nine languages across 27 cities – Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kochi, Dehradun, Dharwad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Panaji, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Shillong, Shimla and Vishakapatnam.

The nine languages are Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya and English and the preparatory materials provided to each advocate will be in the language in which they choose to appear for the examination. An advocate will have to pay Rs. 1,300 as fees to appear for the examination, which will include the cost of receiving preparatory materials. Candidates appearing more than once for the examination will be required to pay only Rs.700 which shall not include the cost of receiving preparatory materials.

Candidates will be free to choose an examination centre of their convenience. It will be conducted by the Bar Council of India with the cooperation of the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The last date for submission of application form is October 31, 2010. Preparatory materials in nine languages will be provided to all candidates. Application forms along with an instruction sheet are available with all State Bar Councils and at the Bar Council of India, New Delhi. Candidates can also apply online for the AIBE through www.barexam@barcouncilofindia.org. The Indian legal profession consists of approximately 11 lakh registered advocates, 1,000 law schools and five lakh law students. Every year, approximately 60,000 law graduates join the legal profession.

Opposition

However, final year students strongly opposed the BCI's decision to introduce examination for fresh graduates to enable them practice in courts. Students' organisations argued the decision had been taken in haste. They said that for improving any profession, there needs to be systematic planning and consultation. A consensus should be formed before implementing any such important decision, which affects lakhs of law students across the country.

They said that the final year students passing out in June 2010 will be jobless till the Bar examination results are declared. As per the present curriculum, all students have completed the three months' compulsory internship and secured pre-placement orders. Unfortunately, after the examination was announced, many companies, law firms and offices were revoking their offers, citing the examination and there was no guarantee that they would get back the placement offers after January 2011, they said in a representation to the Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.


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