'If One Is Going To Practice In Delhi, One Can't Be Staying In Bihar' : Delhi HC Says BCD Empowered To Demand Proof Of Residence For Enrolment
On Monday, the Delhi High Court noted that, because it is a policy decision, it cannot give directions to the Delhi Bar Council to make its enrolment process entirely online. The bench requested the Council, however, to take a decision as expeditiously as possible on the pleas made by some law graduates to make the registration process entirely online.
After the Council told the Court that around 5000 lawyers had been registered since July 2020 via its partial online registration process and that petitioner graduates had also been provisionally registered, Justice Prathiba Singh's Single Judge Bench noted that the Council had already taken appropriate measures to provide for online registration. Although the enrolment form and fee payment process were made available online under the partial online scheme, the physical presence of the candidates was required to complete the process. One of the petitions was submitted by Bihar law graduates who had moved the same during the pandemic, seeking online enrolment in the Council prior to the conduct of AIBE 2020 citing inability to travel to Delhi, seeking urgent relief because enrolment with a Bar Council is one of the preconditions for appearing in the test. One of these law graduates was the applicant, Abhishek Anand, who was appearing in person. He also called for the provision of the Bar Council to provide Delhi with a proof of residence/rent agreement to be withdrawn. He told the court to endorse his prayer that S.25 of the Advocates Act contains the place where the applicant proposes to practice and, thus, it was unfair to order a proof of residence/rent agreement to be given.
However, the court ordered the Council to consider taking steps to make the procedure as straightforward and simple as possible, to order it to make definite calls to make online forms available and to accept documents online, to enable the online payment of the registration fee and to exclude it from physical presence for the completion of the registration process.