Gujarat High Court
Gujarat High Court
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Gujarat HC dismisses plea challenging increase in enrolment fee beyond Rs 750 prescribed under Advocates Act

The High Court held, "prescribing the rate of fees was merely ancillary and can be modified by the Rules as apparent from Section 49 of the Act of 1961".

Aishwarya Iyer

The Gujarat High Court recently dismissed a plea filed against the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Bar Council of Gujarat by a person whose enrolment application was rejected for his unwillingness to deposit the enrolment fee [Rajesh Manibhai Patel v. Bar Council of Gujarat].

It was the petitioner's case that the demand of any fee above the Rs. 750 mentioned in Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 is arbitrary and beyond the competence of the BCI and the Bar Council of Gujarat. Therefore, the petitioner had effectively challenged the rules made to prescribe an enrolment fee higher that Rs 750.

A Division Bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Ashutosh J Shastri, however, held that the increase in fee had was properly justified given the manner in which it was introduced and how such funds were being used. Further,

"Even on the principles of harmonious construction of various provisions of the Act and the Rules, the action of Bar Council of India in increasing the rate of fees cannot be said to be unreasonable, unauthorized or ultra vires."
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