For the first time, around 23,000 fresh law graduates will appear in a mandatory open book written exam on March 6, the result of which will determine whether they would be eligible to practice as lawyers in Indian courts.
The exam will be conducted by the Bar Council of India (BCI), the regulator for legal profession and education in the country, in 10 languages at 27 centres across the country.
The candidates will start receiving the admit cards for the exam from February 15 onwards, according to the BCI.
The entry-level exam were earlier scheduled for December 5 last, but was postponed following objections from some state bar councils and law ministry.
“The exam will be of three hours and thirty minutes duration with mainly multiple choice questions to be answered by ticking the correct one. The candidates will be allowed to use reference books during the exam,” said professor VB Coutinho, the chairman of BCI’s directorate of legal education.
Candidates will have to score a minimum of 40% marks to qualify this exam, but there is no limitation on number of chances for a candidate to pass this test, which will be held twice a year from this year onwards.
The BCI has made it clear that only the fresh law graduates, that is the students graduating in law during the academic session 2009-10 and later, need to pass the exam.
“Law graduates who got their degrees before the 2009-10 academic session but for some reason did not register with the BCI do not need to appear in the exam,” said an official.
BCI sources said the move to hold the exam followed a direction from the Supreme Court in December 2009, which the law ministry included it in the blueprint for legal reforms.