Advocate is the person who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court. He is the person who defends or maintains a cause or proposal. He also supports or promotes the interests of another.
According to Section 2 (1) (a) of the Advocates Act, 1961, provides that “advocate” means an advocate entered on the roll of any State Bar Council under the provisions of this Act. In fact, an advocate is a legal practitioner of any High Court or Lower Court. He is entitled to represent his clients before the Courts of law for which he should be granted licence by a State Bar Council.
Qualifications for Enrolment as an advocate
The Advocates Act, 1961, has made specific and detailed provisions for enrolment of a person as an advocate. In this context, Section 24 is relevant for discussion which deals with the provisions about the persons who may be admitted as Advocates on the roll of a State Bar Council. The self- explanatory provisions of Section 24 are described as under:
Subject to the provisions of this Act, and the rules made thereunder, a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an advocate on a State Roll, if he fulfils the following conditions, namely:
(a) he is a citizen of India :
Provided that subject to the other provisions contained in this Act, a national of any other country may be admitted as an advocate on a State Roll, if citizens of India, duly qualified, are permitted to practise law in that other country;
(b) he has completed the age of twenty one years;
(c) he has obtained a degree in law-
(i) before the 12th day of March, 1967, from any University in the territory of India; or
(ii) before the 15th day of August, 1947, from any University in any area which was comprised before that date, within India as defined by the Government of India Act, 1935, or
(iii) after the 12th day of March, 1967, save as provided ill sub-clause (iii-a), after undergoing a three years course of study in law from any University in India, which is recognised for the purposes of this Act by the Bar Council of India, or
(iii-a) after undergoing a course of study in law, the duration of which is not less than two academic years commencing from the academic year 1967-68 or any -earlier academic year from any University in India, which is recognised for the purposes of this Act, by the Bar Council of India; or
(iv) in any other case, from any University outside the territory of India, if the degree is recognised for the purposes of this Act by the Bar Council of India, or he is a barrister and is enrolled to the Bar on or before the 31st day of December, 1976, or has passed the Articled Clerk’s Examination or any other examination specified by the’ High Court at Bombay or Calcutta for enrolment as an Attorney of that High Court, or has obtained such other foreign qualification in law as is recognised by the Bar Council of India for the purpose of admission as an advocate under this Act;
(d) [ * * *]
(e) he fulfils such other conditions as may be specified in the rules made by the State Bar Council under this Chapter;
(f) he has paid, in respect of the enrolment, stamp duty, if any, chargeable under the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (2 of 1899), and an enrolment fee payable to the State Bar Council, of six hundred rupees and to the Bar Council of India, one hundred and fifty rupees by way of a bank draft drawn in favour of that Council:
Provided that where such person is a member of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes and produces a certificate to that effect from such authority, as may be prescribed, the enrolment fee payable by him to the State Bar Council shall be, one hundred rupees and to the Bar Council of India, twenty five rupees.
According to sub-section (2) of Section 24 of the Advocates Act, 1961, not only a person who holds a bachelor’s degree in law, as provided under sub-section (I) of Section 24, may be enrolled as an advocate on the State’ Roll but also a person who is a vakil or a pleader- and is a law graduate, may be admitted as an advocate.
Similarly, under sub-section (3) of Section 24, a person who has, for atleast three years, been a pleader or a mukhtar or was entitled at any time to be enrolled under any law as an advocate of a High Court, or of a Court of Judicial Commissioner in any Union territory, can also be admitted as Advocate on the State Roll, provided he makes an application for such enrolment in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
The Supreme Court has held in V. Sudeer v. Bar Council of India, (1999) 3 SCC 176, that Bar Council of India cannot take up the role of laying down rules
for pre-enrolment training for applicants seeking to enter the legal profession by getting enrolled under Section 24 of the Advocates Act.
In Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice v. Bar Council of India, AIR 1995 SC 69, the Supreme Court has observed that a rule debarring a person, who has completed 45 years of age. from enrolment as an Advocate, is beyond the rule making power of Bar Council of India and ultra vires the Advocates Act, 1961.
In Bar Council of India v. Aparna Basu Mallick. AIR 1994 SC 134, the Supreme Court has observed that under Section 24 (I) (c) (iii) of the Advocates Act, 1961, a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an advocate on a State Roll if he fulfils the conditions of having undergone a three years’ course of study in law from any University which is recognised by the Bar Council of India. Where the candidate admittedly did not pursue any regular course of study at any college recognised by the University by attending the law classes, lectures, tutorials and moot Courts, he/she cannot be said to have complied with the requirements for enrolment as an advocate.
In Salish Kumar Sharma v. Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh AIR 2001 SC 509, the Supreme Court has held that in terms of appointment and promotion order issued to the appellant, he was to act or plead on behalf of the Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board. But his work was not exclusively to act or plead in the Court. So he could not be called, “a law officer” within the meaning of para 3 of Bar Council of India, Rule 49. On the basis of above facts, the appellant was not entitled to be enrolled as an Advocate.