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The Karnataka High Court today stayed the operation of the Bar Council of India’s Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules, 2015 in the state.
The stay, which is operative for a period of three months, is a stay in rem with respect to the state, as opposed to the stay in personam granted by the High Court last week.
In fact, last week’s order paved the way for advocates Aarti Mundkur, Nitin R, and Nimisha Kumar to file a petition in the High Court seeking a complete stay on the Rules.
Link Legal Partner Shridhar Prabhu was the legal counsel for the petitioners.
The petition contends that the Rules are violative of Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution and ultra vires the provisions of the Advocates Act. Other grounds of challenge include the forms that would be used to obtain the Certificate of Practice.
Firstly, the petitioners argue that the forms published by the Bar Council of India and the Karnataka State Bar Council differed from each other, resulting in confusion among the advocates in Karnataka.
Secondly, the forms pertaining to the Rules were not published in the Official Gazette.
Further, it was put forth that the requirement of physical appearance in courts as a prerequisite for obtaining the certificate was blatantly incorrect. The petition states,
“…the right to practice the profession of law cannot be reduced down to the act of filing one vakalathnama or be confined to physical appearances in Courts / Tribunals / other authorities.”
With the Karnataka High Court staying the CoP rules, it is up to the Bar Council of India to make the next move.