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Law practice after 45? Forget it, says Bar Council
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Punjab and Haryana Bar Council has decided not to give licence to anybody who has crossed the age of 45 years.
At a meeting held yesterday, the elected representatives of the legal fraternity, who are also given the power to take errant lawyers to task and also frame rules for governing lawyers¸ formally decided to bar qualified law graduates, who have crossed the age of 45 years, from getting a licence to practice law.

So far, anybody who had a law degree and met some basic criteria laid down by the Bar Council could apply for a licence to practice law in various courts. Not any longer. The decision will come into effect from the date it gets the stamp of approval of the Bar Council of India.

The new rule reads, “A person who is otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate, but if of more than 45 years of age on the date of submission of the application for enrolment in the Bar Council, shall not be admitted as an advocate.”

However, retired judges, judicial officers and those who had a licence earlier and had given it up to take up some other career will not come within the ambit of the new rule.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, says, “We don’t want the Bar to become parking lots for the retirees. Only those who are committed to the profession and want to take it up as a profession seriously should be allowed to seek a licence. Not those who only wish to get a licence to pass their free time.”

Sources in the Bar Council say that the move, which follows similar decisions by some of the other state bar councils, has the full backing of the Bar Council of India. Sometime back, the Bar Council of India had also circulated some model rules among the state bar councils for their perusal and, if they wished, implementation. One of these rules related to the clause pertaining to persons over 45 years in age entering the profession.

The new rule is going to severely affect the post-retirement avenue in courtrooms of government officers, particularly those from the armed forces. The Punjab and Haryana High Court alone has scores of such lawyers, who entered the legal profession after they retired from their government jobs.

Asked if the new rule will affect those persons who had a law licence earlier but gave the same up for some other option, Bar Council Member Lekh Raj Sharma replied in the negative.

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