Goal: To question the legal basis on which Bar Council of AP is charging fees for any gaps in academics of a LL.B Graduate during Advocate enrollment process, apart from taking an affidavit to that effect.
During my enrollment process, Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh (BC-AP) had asked me to pay Rs.7000/- towards 10+ years of gap between my last graduation and LL.B degree. Since I did not believe then that BC-AP (no State Bar Council, for that matter!) never had any statutory power to levy and collect such fees, I paid the said fees duly through SBI Bank challan. My enrollment finished successfully with BC-AP on 17 March 2022 and I became an advocate enrolled with BC-AP (AP/646/2022)… Yippeee!!!
But later, I noticed from other friends who enrolled with Other State Bar Councils, that they were NOT charged any fees for gaps in their academics. This led me to dig deeper and to my astonishment, yes, indeed, no State Bar Council has any statutory power to levy any fees other than that is prescribed in Advocates Act 1961. This decision from Kerala High Court nailed it here (WP before single bench) and here (appeal to Division Bench). The icing on the cake is Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the SLPs with a 1-liner here. Armed with this information, I decided to challenge BC-AP on this aspect and recover my fees from them.
1. Filed a 1-page Representation to BC-AP
2. Filed a 1-page RTI application to BC-AP
I received a missed call from Bar Council landline on 23-May-2022, but none spoke when I called back. Hmmmm!
3. Received this reply from BC-AP. Interesting Answers!2022-06-02 Reply to RTI application
Interestingly, BCI has earlier in March replied to my RTI application stating that, they do NOT have any knowledge if any State Bar Council is charging fees for gaps in academics. The following is the proof. So BC-AP doing naughty things without knowledge of (AND necessary ratification/approval from) BCI. Spooky…!2022-03-05 BCIND R E 22 00126-No Knowledge as to State BC taking fee for Gap during enrollment
4. Filed another RTI seeking more information about the resolution that BC-AP passed basis which they are levying unauthorized fees for gaps in academics.
5. Got a reply on 27-Jun-2022.P10 2022-06-27 Reply to RTI application dt 2022-06-14
6. WP against BC-AP and make BCI as respondent no.2. Petition ready. To be filed on 23rd August, 2022. After 3 weeks of to and fro with Filing Section, the Writ Petition is numbered and will be listed next Monday, tentatively.
Here is the copy of petition filed.2022-09-12 WP against Gap fees by BC-AP v2.0
7. The WP is listed before Court-14, for Sep 19, 2022 Monday for Initial hearing before Hon’ble Single Bench to issue notices to Respondents. But the Judge was on leave so obtained a new date from Justice Ninnala Jayasurya.
8. As per the interim Order passed, the WP was supposed to be listed on 21-Sep-2022, but it was not listed. What do I do now?2022-09-19 Sandeep Pamarati Vs the Secretary BCAP and Anr
9. Today noticed that a senior advocate has filed vakalath in the case. Nice…
10. Waiting for listing of the case… Not going to mention the matter. Let’s see…
Index of my life goals here.