The Bar Council of India (BCI) has announced its intention of banning fresh law graduates from joining the judicial services directly and instead making them slog it out in the courts for three years first.
Live Law had first tweeted the BCI press release, noting:
Bar Council of India to move Supreme Court seeking modification of the order allowing fresh law graduates to become judicial officers. “Judicial officers not having practical experience at the bar are mostly found to be incapable and inept at handling matters”, BCI says.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) Sun, 03 Jan 2021, 08:16
The BCI in its 2 January 2021 press release, signed by secretary Srimanto Sen, the BCI also said that judges “not having practical experience at the Bar are mostly found to be incapable and inept in handling matters”.
The BCI continues:
Most of such officers are found impolite and impractical in their behaviour with the Members of the Bar and Litigants. They have lack of understanding of the aspirations and expectations of Advocates and Litigants in the matter of proper and decent behavior.
Is insulting the honourable junior judges not contempt of court? Who are we to say.
But the Supreme Court may get its say now, as the BCI has vowed to file an application before it to modify a 2002 order that had removed the previous three-year-practice restriction on taking the judicial services exam.
In some ways, perhaps the BCI is right: in an ideal world, all judges would have first seen the cut-and-thrust of litigation from the wrong side of the bench before ascending to it.
But the practical concerns against the BCI’s arguments are several:
- the pendency of cases has continued rising non-stop in recent years, to which more and better judges may be one of the few effective long-term solutions.
- judicial services exams have become an increasingly popular career choice amongst fresh law graduates, including at national law and other top universities, where graduates could have chosen to join the bar or law firms.
- law firms won’t be able to absorb those law graduates, since the sector is tiny.
- the first years at the bar are very hard for most freshers, unless you are well-off or have a godfather/mother in the profession, since many of the more senior lawyers at the bar don’t pay (much or at all) and the financial support provided by the bar councils is minimal.
- if one were to be particularly cynical, the BCI and state bar counsels seem like they’re pitching for placing all future judges under their jurisdiction for three years before allowing them to ‘escape’ and lord it over them from the bench.
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