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Nothing in excess of Rs 600 can be charged for enrolling law graduates as lawyers: SC

Reserving the judgement on as many as 10 petitions, a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala referred to Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and said the fee for a law graduate to be enrolled as a lawyer is Rs 600 and Parliament alone can increase it by amending the law.
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 14:18 IST
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 14:18 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Monday that not more than Rs 600 can be charged for enrolling law graduates as advocates across the country, as it reserved its verdict on pleas challenging "exorbitant" fees being levied by state bar bodies for the purpose.

Reserving the judgement on as many as 10 petitions, a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala referred to Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and said the fee for a law graduate to be enrolled as a lawyer is Rs 600 and Parliament alone can increase it by amending the law.

"Nothing can be charged in excess of Rs 600... If you want to increase the enrolment fee, then it is for Parliament to increase the enrolment fee," the bench said after hearing lawyers from both sides, including senior advocate and chairperson of the Bar Council of India (BCI) Manan Kumar Mishra.

"Now we are talking about Rs 15,000 enrolment fees. In Bihar, we used to pay Rs 25,000 per head to lawyers for either cancer or kidney disease," the BCI chairperson told the court.

On April 10, the top court had issued notices to the Centre, the BCI and other state bar bodies on the pleas, saying they raised a significant issue.

The pleas alleged charging "exorbitant" enrolment fees violated the legal provision and the BCI must step in to ensure it was not done.

"For instance, the petitioner alleges that the enrolment fees in Odisha is Rs 42,100, in Gujarat Rs 25,000, in Uttarakhand Rs 23,650, in Jharkhand Rs 21,460 and in Kerala Rs 20,050," the court had noted while issuing the notice.

It was said that such high fees effectively deny enrolment to young aspiring lawyers who do not have necessary resources.

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Published 22 April 2024, 14:18 IST

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