Delay in exam leaves law graduates in lurch

The All India Bar Examination (AIBE), which law graduates must clear to be eligible to practise as lawyers, has not been conducted for the past seven months as the Bar Council of India (BCI) is yet to finalize an agency to conduct the exam on its behalf. The exam, which the BCI had made mandatory in 2010, is usually held thrice a year.

The BCI, a statutory body created by Parliament, had last conducted the AIBE on January 8. Law graduates are required to clear the exam before applying for a 'sanad' (licence to practise) from the state bar councils. The exam assesses the capabilities of law graduates at the basic level, judges their analytical abilities and sets a minimum standard for practicing law. Around 30,000 law graduates appear for the examination each time. The candidates are allowed only two attempts at the exam.

Following various representations made by the state bar councils of Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat, the BCI passed a resolution on July 28 to provisionally allow newlyenrolled advocates to practise for six months provided they clear the exam within that period. But several law graduates said they were unaware of the provisional 'sanad' being given by the state bar councils. "The bar councils need to convey this decision to us. No information on the decision has been displayed on notice boards in law colleges or court premises. The BCI website too makes no mention of this," a law graduate said.

Chaitanya, a law graduate who finished his course few months back, suggested that the AIBE should be held along with the final year LLB exam