The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice in a plea filed by a law graduate seeking directions to the Bar Council of Delhi to enroll him as an advocate.
In the present case, the petitioner joined the three-year LL.B course in the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi in 2012 and completed one year of his studies and in the meantime, he was selected for the post of Rural Development Officer in October 2013 through the Civil Services Examination conducted by Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) and joined the service on November 1, 2013 leaving his LLB studies incomplete. Later, he resigned from the post but couldn’t get his relieving letter. After that, he completed his law graduation and filed an application before the Bar Council of Delhi to get himself enrolled as an advocate.
The petition has been filed by Rakesh Kumar through advocate Raj Mani Mishra.
On Thursday, a single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh issued notice and gave time to the Bar Council of Delhi to file counter-affidavit and directed the petitioner to implead the BPSC as a party to answer as to why they have not acted on the resignation tendered by the petitioner.
The respondent Bar Council of Delhi argued that there is an official inquiry in process and they cannot grant enrollment on this ground. Whereas the petitioner contended that his fundamental right to earn a livelihood, under Article 21, is being infringed by the council.
It is the case of the petitioner that he resigned from service as a Rural Development Officer on 04/04/2015, citing harassment at the hands of senior officers and handed over charge of the office he was heading to another officer after the posting of the latter by the government on 13/05/02015.
The petitioner was suspended on 27/05/2015, after 52 days of his resignation letter citing harassment at the hands of senior officers and after 15 months, the suspension of the petitioner was revoked without conducting any inquiry but with two punishments on 17/08/2015, but no reply has been given on his resignation letter till date.
For the last time on 15/01/2016, the petitioner appeared before the officer concerned of Rural Development Department, Government of Bihar in regard to the departmental inquiry which was being conducted against him and requested for the copy of the inquiry report but it was never provided to him. Neither relieving letter has been issued to the petitioner nor has any reply been given to him on his resignation tendered about 6 years ago.
In 2016, the petitioner resumed his LLB course in Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and completed the degree in 2018.
The petitioner approached the concerned office-bearers of Bar Council of Delhi seeking their permission to get himself enrolled as an advocate but it was stated by the office-bearers that as the petitioner has not been relieved by his employer and has not been issued the required relieving letter, he is still a government servant and so can’t be enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi.
The petitioner places reliance on a Gujarat High Court judgement, TWINKLE RAHUL MANGAONKAR VERSUS UNION OF INDIA which held;
“A person may be either in full or part time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession, who otherwise is qualified to be admitted as an advocate, however the enrollment certificate of such a person shall be withheld with the Bar Council and shall lie in deposit with the Council until the concerned person makes a declaration that the circumstances mentioned in Rule 2 have ceased to exist and that he or she has started his/her practice.”
The above mentioned Rule 2 of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules, reads thus;
“2) Every person applying to be admitted as an Advocate shall in his application make a declaration that he is not in full or part-time service or employment and that he is not engaged in any trade, business or profession contrary to the rules of the State Bar Council and of the Bar Council of India made under the Act. But in case he is in such full or part-time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession he shall in the declaration disclose full particulars of his service, employment or engagement. He shall also undertake that if, after his admission as an Advocate, he accepts full or part-time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession disqualifying him from admission, he shall forthwith inform the Bar Council of such service or employment or engagement and shall cease to practise as an advocate, provided that the above undertaking shall not apply to a person who accepts service as a part-time professor, part- time lecturer or part-time teacher-in-law if the hours of his duty in the Court are not in conflict with the hours of his duty in the institution where he teaches law and if it is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession. This shall be subject to such directions, if any as may be issued by the Bar Council of India from time to time.”