The Bar Council of India was launched by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961.
The following statutory operates under Section 7 cover the Bar Council’s regulatory and representative mandate for the legal profession and legal education in India:
- To set standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates.
- To set procedure to be followed by its disciplinary committee and the disciplinary committees of each State Bar Council.
- To protect the rights, privileges, and interests of advocates.
- To advertise and support law reform.
- To compromise with and dispose of any matter which may be referred to it by a State Bar Council.
- To advertise legal education and to lay down standards of legal education. This is done in consultation with the Universities in India imparting legal education and the State Bar Councils.
- To establish Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate. The BCI visits and inspects Universities, or directs the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect Universities for this purpose.
- To organize seminars and talks on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest.
- To provide legal aid to the poor.
- To establish on a reciprocal basis, the foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for the purpose of admission as an advocate in India.
- To maintain and invest the funds of the Bar Council.
- To give for the election of its members who shall run the Bar Councils.
In March 1953, the ‘All India Bar Committee’, controlled by S. R. Das, deposited a report which proposed the creation of a bar council for each state and an all-India bar council as an apex body. It was adviced that the all India bar council should regulate the legal profession and set the standard of legal education. The Law Commission of India was assigned the task of assembling a report on judicial administration reforms. In 1961, the Advocates Act was established to implement the recommendations made by the ‘All India Bar Committee’ and ‘Law Commission’. M. C. Setalvad and C. K. Daphtary were the first chairmen and vice chairman respectively. In 1963, C. K. Daphtary became the Chairman and S. K. Ghose became the Vice Chairman of BCI.