Delhi HC issues notice in challenge to exorbitant additional fees charged by BCD, BCI at time of enrolment
Litigation News

Delhi HC issues notice in challenge to exorbitant additional fees charged by BCD, BCI at time of enrolment

Notice was issued in a petition preferred by a final-year student of NLIU, Bhopal, Ankit Gupta.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a petition challenging the exorbitant additional fees being charged by the Bar Council of Delhi and Bar Council of India at the time of enrolment of advocates.

Notice was issued by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla in a petition preferred by a final-year student of NLIU Bhopal, Ankit Gupta.

In his petition before the High Court, Gupta has stated that as per Section 24(1)(f) of the Advocates Act, 1961, for being admitted as an advocate, a person has to pay Rs 600 to the respective State Bar Council and Rs 150 to the Bar Council of India. In case of a member of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, the enrolment fee payable by him to the respective State Bar Council is Rs 150 and Rs 25 to the Bar Council of India.

“However, the Bar Council of Delhi charges an additional fee of Rs. 8,350 (excluding Rs. 1,000 towards enrolment form). Furthermore, Bar Council of Delhi charges an additional amount of Rs. 3,000 towards circulation fee, in case, an applicant wishes to expedite the process of his enrolment."
the petition states.

Since such a levy is not provided for in the Act, the petitioner has contended that it is illegal, arbitrary and de hors the provisions of the Act.

It is added that this additional fee is towards various funds constituted by the Bar Council of Delhi.

The petitioner submits that as per Section 6(2) of the Advocates Act, 1961, the State Bar Council is empowered to constitute one or more such funds only for the purposes of giving legal aid, financial assistance to welfare schemes for the indigent, disabled and other advocates, and establishing law libraries.

Therefore, all the funds that have been established contrary to the mandate of Section 6(2) are illegal, arbitrary and de hors the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, the petition states.

It is also pleaded that an applicant cannot be compelled to contribute even for the funds duly constituted as per Section 6(2) of the Advocates Act, 1961, since no provision of the Act empowers the State Bar Council to seek contribution towards these funds from an applicant, and more so by making it a condition precedent for enrolment.

The petitioner has also assailed the levy of Rs 2,000 by the Bar Council of India and Rs 1.000 by the Bar Council of Delhi in case of transfer from the Delhi roll to another roll.

It is claimed that the Advocates Act, 1961 does not envisage levy of any fee for such transfer and it was thus ultra vires Section 18 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

The matter will be heard next on May 13.

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