The Bar Council of India (BCI) informed the Delhi High Court that it was not feasible to hold All India Bar Examination (AIBE) through online mode. (Purav Midha vs BCI)
BCI reported that the procedure of holding a physical test on 8 Nov had begun. The statement was made by counsel for BCI before the Bench. The Court was hearing a petition preferred by Advocate Purav Middha for conducting this year’s AIBE through online mode. Advocate Singh stated that the BCI had resolved to exempt the period ranging from March 24, 2020, to March 31, 2021. This was on the issue of expiry of provisional certificates. Thus, the two-year deadline that was to be given to young advocates to clear AIBE was calculated. The period from March 24, 2020, to March 31, 2021, shall not be considered.
Petitioner raised concerns of COVID-19. The Petitioner had submitted that the delay in conducting AIBE was detrimental to the interests of young advocates. They held a provisional enrolment certificate which was valid only for two years. Petitioner-in-person, Purav Middha stated the issue of extension of benefits under welfare schemes of State Bar Council, etc. to provisionally enrol advocates were still open. This was considered along with the issue of conducting AIBE through online mode.
In response, Advocate Preet Pal Singh, counsel for BCI said that the grievances raised by the Petitioner had been taken care of by the General Council of BCI. As per the Resolution passed by the General Council last month, the issue of conducting AIBE by online mode was discussed and deliberated upon. It was found that the same was not feasible. BCI rejected the option of conducting AIBE through online mode on the ground that most lawyers did not stay in metro cities or in even class-1 cities. Thus, they would face issues with respect to internet speed and connectivity. Singh pressed that the petition shall be disposed of. Manan Kumar Mishra, Chairman, BCI added that the Supreme Court was already hearing a Suo-moto Petition on welfare schemes for advocates amid COVID-19.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Jayant Nath was set up. Since the counter-affidavit filed by BCI was not on record, the Court adjourned the matter till October 22.
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