The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) to consider having a pre-set schedule for the All India Bar Exam (AIBE) given the uncertainty that persists in conducting the biannual exam [Nishant Khatri v Bar Council of India & Anr].
Single-judge Justice Prathiba M Singh said that there is a need to resolve this uncertainty so that provisionally enrolled advocates can prepare for the AIBE.
A lawyer named Nishant Khatri has approached the High Court stating that he got enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi in November 2019 but because the AIBE exams have not been conducted after October 2021, he ought not to be stopped from practising.
Justice Singh clarified that since the AIBE exams have not been conducted since October 2021, Rule 9 of the All India Bar Examination Rules would not be operational in respect of advocates who have been unable to clear the exam within the two years of the provisional enrollment.
With respect to the petitioner, the Court directed that he will not be stopped from appearing in courts and that he can rely on his provision registration till further orders.
The Court also asked the BCI to inform about the next date of the bar exam.
The counsel for the BCI informed the bench that the notification for the exam will be announced shortly and that the delay was on account of change of the agency which conducts the exam.
When the Court queried about whether the students who are enrolled but have not been able to sit for the exam are entitled to practice, the BCI counsel sought time to seek instructions on the same.
“Let a status report be filed by BCI giving the next date for conduct of AIBE. The BCI should also consider having a pre-set schedule for conduct of AIBE so that the uncertainty can be resolved and provisionally enrolled advocates can prepare for appearing in AIBE accordingly,” the Court then ordered.
The matter will be considered next on January 6, 2023.