State councils' rule prevents enrolment by law graduates

  • Important question of law is involved
  • High Court has quashed TN Bar Council rule
  • Legal Correspondent

    New Delhi: As an important question of law is involved, the Supreme Court will examine the constitutional validity of the rule framed by State Bar Councils fixing 45 as the upper age limit for enrolment as advocates.

    The rule has virtually prevented several law graduates, who take up employment, to enrol themselves as lawyers either after retirement or on resignation.

    After hearing senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan and B. Balaji, a Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran on Friday posted for examination a special leave petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Bar Council (TNBC) against a Madras High Court judgment quashing the rule framed by it.

    Litigation in HC

    Besides the TNBC, the Bar Councils of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh have introduced a similar rule and litigation is on in the respective High Courts. On a petition filed by M. Radhakrishnan, the Madras High Court struck down the TNBC rule as ultra vires the Constitution. It held that the Supreme Court had struck down a similar rule framed by the Bar Council of India and hence the State council was not competent to frame it again.

    In the SLP, the TNBC said the Supreme Court had not given any direction to the State Bar Councils not to frame such a rule under their rule-making powers. The Bar Council fixed the upper age limit after amending the enrolment rules under Section 28 (2) (d) read with Section 24 (1) (e) of the Advocates Act, and the Bar Council of India also approved the amendment.