The Bar Council of India is a statutory body established under the section 4 of advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India. Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents the Indian bar. It prescribes standards of professional conduct, etiquettes and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar. It also sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as a qualification for students to enroll themselves as advocates upon graduation.
The Bar Council of India was established by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. The following statutory functions under Section 7 cover the Bar Council’s regulatory and representative mandate for the legal profession and legal education in India:
1. To lay down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates.
2. To lay down procedure to be followed by its disciplinary committee and the disciplinary committees of each State Bar Council.
3. To safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates.
4. To promote and support law reform.
5. To deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred to it by a State Bar Council.
6. To promote legal education and to lay down standards of legal education. This is done in consultation with the Universities in India imparting legal education and the State Bar Councils.
7. To recognise Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate. The Bar Council of India visits and inspects Universities, or directs the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect Universities for this purpose.
8. To conduct seminars and talks on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest.
9. To organise legal aid to the poor.
10.To recognise on a reciprocal basis, the foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for the purpose of admission as an advocate in India.
11.To manage and invest the funds of the Bar Council.
12.To provide for the election of its members who shall run the Bar Councils.
The Bar Council of India can also constitute funds for the following purposes:
1. Giving financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for poor, disabled or other advocates,
2. Giving legal aid, and
3. Establishing law libraries.
The Bar Council of India can also receive grants, donations, and gifts for any of these purposes.