Parliamentary standing committee slams Bar Council of India for not responding to its questionnaire

A Parliamentary Standing Committee has slammed the Bar Council of India (BCI) for not responding to a questionnaire forwarded to them.

The committee, in its report, said on having enquired about the total number of government/autonomous/private law colleges recognized by the BCI during the last 15 years along with the details of de-recognized law institutes/universities, if any, the BCI chose to remain silent on the issue and had not furnished any information.

Extract from the Parliamentary Committee Report.

“It is not understood why in this age of information the data which is expected to be readily available with the BCI has not been provided to the committee. It is important to remember that the council derives its powers from the Advocates Act, 1961 which is administered by the department of legal affairs”, the report said.

The committee headed by BJP leader Bhupender Yadav expressed its dismay that the BCI had also not shared any information with regard to audited income and expenditure statements, audited Reports, etc., which is mandated as per the Advocates Act 1961.

“The committee is of the view that the BCI should furnish its audited financial records as mentioned in Section 12 of the Advocates Act, 1961. The committee also feels that the Department of Legal Affairs should have made concerted efforts in the matter ensuring that requisite information sought from BCI is provided to the committee”, it said.

Referring to the New Education Policy (NEP), the committee said the endeavour of the BCI needs to be in the direction of promoting legal education in the country by way of being flexible in its approach so as to provide maximum opportunities to students to pursue law courses and not by creating hurdle by way of putting restrictions such as timing and venue requirements for the law classes.

The report noted that even on the issue of regulation of legal education, the BCI again remained tight-lipped and did not provide any information against the questions forwarded to it for replies.

It has asked the Department of Legal Affairs to submit a status note after taking inputs from the Bar Council of India.

The department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice submitted its report yesterday in the Rajya Sabha.

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