The Law Stipulates That Enrollment Fees For Advocates Must Not Surpass Rs 600: Supreme Court

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Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala, presiding over the bench, while citing section 24(1)(f) of the Advocates Act, reaffirmed that the enrollment fees for lawyers must not surpass Rs 600.

“The statute has made it clear that nothing can be charged more than Rs 600”.

The Court noted these remarks while reserving its judgment on a petition regarding the substantial enrollment fees established by multiple State Bar Councils.

Advocate Vrinda Bhandari, speaking on behalf of the petitioner, emphasized the financial challenges encountered by her client, a member of the marginalized Pardhi community. She underscored that the petitioner had to pay Rs 21,000 for enrollment, in addition to Rs 1,500 for the enrollment form.

The Chief Justice of India inquired of Bhandari whether the advocate welfare charge constituted a component of the enrollment fee. Bhandari responded negatively, clarifying that the charge was mandatory for obtaining an enrollment certificate.

The Chief Justice emphasized that any decision regarding fee adjustments should rest with the parliament.

Senior Advocates Manan Kumar Mishra and S. Prabhakaran, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Bar Council of India, voiced their support for the fee increase, highlighting the welfare initiatives undertaken by bar councils for lawyers.

The Court, however, refrained from issuing a verdict and indicated that the parliament should reconsider the Rs 600 fee, as determining the fee amount was beyond the Court’s purview.

In response to Mishra and Prabhakaran, the Chief Justice emphasized the financial constraints faced by lawyers from less privileged districts and urged Prabhakaran to consider the concerns of the legal community.

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