Madras HC Dismisses Plea to Lower AIBE Application Fee

All India Bar Examination

The Madras High Court has rejected a plea seeking a directive to lower the application fee for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) administered by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

The petition, filed by advocate Gokul Abimanyu, was heard by a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice G R Swaminathan. The bench noted that Section 24(1)(f) of the Advocates Act, 1961 mandates an enrolment fee of ₹600 to the State Bar Council and ₹150 to the Bar Council of India.

The court observed that current fees charged by state councils exceed the prescribed amounts, with a related petition pending before the Supreme Court, which has issued notices to the Centre, BCI, and state councils.

Regarding the AIBE fee, the court clarified that unlike enrolment fees, there is no statutory provision specifying a particular sum. The judges emphasized that a directive can only be issued if a legal right is demonstrated, which was not established in this case.

The judges further stated that even without statutory violation, the court could intervene if the fee amount was deemed excessive. However, the current fee of ₹3,500 was deemed reasonable and not excessive. Consequently, the court found no grounds for interference and dismissed the petition.

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