Upset with the plan of the Union HRD Ministry to regulate the legal education sector through the proposed Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Monday called a nationwide protest on January 20.
BCI chairman Ashok K Parija also expressed anguish over the manner in which the new Bill was approved by the Cabinet without any consultation with the members of the Bar. The BCI has asserted that it wouldn?t ?allow? the inclusion of advocates or legal education in the ambit of the proposed law.
Lekh Raj Sharma, chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, said the BCI would hold a meeting of the BCI and chairmen of all state Bar councils on January 23 to chalk out a future course of action.
?There is no way the lawyers will allow the government to get the legislation passed. It is an attempt to restrict the freedom of the legal sector,? Sharma said.
The BCI alleged that even though the Advocates Act, 1961 provides for lawyers to be independent of government control, the Centre is trying to have direct control over the lawyers and legal education due to strong opposition on vital issues from the legal community.
?The Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, proposes to take away the duties and functions entrusted to the BCI and state Bar Councils and it proposes to vest all these powers with a national commission constituting a few academicians. The Council strongly condemns the attempt of the HRD Ministry by which it has tried to encroach upon provisions of Advocates Act, 1961, with a view to use the functions and duties of elected bodies comprising more than 15 lakh advocates of the country,? Sharma said.