A division bench of Kerala High Court (Order written by Chief Justice!) upon a writ appeal from here) held that Bar Council (of any State or India) do not have power to prescribe any fee for the enrolment, either in the form of enrolment fee or special fee. This was eventually taken to Supreme Court where the Bar Council failed to convince the Apex Court here.
From Para 7,
2018-04-12 The Bar Council of Kerala Vs T.Koshy on 12 Apr 2018
7.Thus the surviving question is whether the fixation of special fee is encompassed by the conditions which the Bar Council is entitled to prescribe in the rules made by it in view of section 24(1)(e) and section 28(2)(d). As we have already seen and as found by the learned single Judge, in section 24(1)(f), the Legislature itself has prescribed the enrolment fee payable by a candidate applying for enrolment with a Bar Council of a State. Once the legislature has prescribed enrolment fee, another fee, be it called a special fee or anything else, can legitimately be prescribed by a State Bar Council or any other authority only if there is an express legislative sanction therefor. In so far as section 24(1)(e) is concerned, all that it empowers the State Bar Council is to specify in the rules made by it under Chapter III of the Act the other conditions that a candidate should fulfill for enrolment. That rule making power also finds reflection in section 28(2)(d) which provides for the power of the Bar Council to make rules prescribing the conditions subject to which a person could be admitted as an advocate on its rolls. These provisions, in our view, only deal with the eligibility conditions and those conditions do not empower the Bar Council to prescribe any fee for the enrolment, either in the form of enrolment fee or special fee. Therefore, the prescription of special fee as done by the Bar Council of Kerala is totally ultra vires its powers as conferred under the Advocates Act, 1961.
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