HC stays Shahdara bar association's new dress code for law interns

NewsDrum Desk
01 Dec 2022
HC stays Shahdara bar association's new dress code for law interns

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday stayed a circular issued by the Shahdara Bar Association prescribing a different dress code for law interns to distinguish them from advocates, and asked the Bar Council of Delhi to meet all bar associations here and consensually derive a uniform dress code for interns.

The high court said a consistent uniform should be prescribed because if different bar associations prescribe different uniforms, the interns will be inconvenienced.

On November 24, the executive committee of Shahdara Bar Association unanimously decided to introduce a new dress code for interns, white shirt and blue coat and trousers which was with effect from December 1.

The circular stated that on many occasions, interns were found appearing in courts wearing black coats and it became difficult to "differentiate between advocates and interns".

Justice Prathiba M Singh said considering that a large number of interns visit the high court and district courts, a uniform policy needs to be derived with consensus so that interns' uniform is clearly differentiable from lawyers.

The high court asked Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) chairman Murari Tiwari to convene a meeting on December 12 at 4 PM with the Bar Council of India (BCI), Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) and other district court bar associations and arrive at a consensus on interns’ uniform after bearing mind the Rules of Legal Education.

"No coercive action shall be taken against any intern for not wearing blue coat and trouser uniform while entering the Karkardooma Courts," the judge said, adding that the circular of Shahdara Bar Association shall remain stayed.

The high court issued notice and sought response of BCD and Shahdara Bar Association on a petition filed by one Hardik Kapoor, a second year law student, challenging the circular on the ground that it has been passed in contravention of the relevant rules prescribed by BCI and BCD.

Advocate Ujwal Ghai, appearing for the petitioner, argued that Shahdara Bar Association has issued the circular without any authority of law and this is the classic example of misuse of its office.

The petitioner, filed through Shivek Rai Kapoor, Sanchit Saini and Arpit Sharma, said operation of the circular would cause unnecessary financial difficulty to interns who are already working without any stipend or with stipend of meagre amount.

Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, president of DHCBA, said they have discussed the issued and they are not in agreement with it and added that even a law intern is a prospective lawyer and they ought to be differentiable from litigants.

The high court listed the matter for further hearing on February 23, 2023.

During the hearing, the counsel for BCI referred to a 2018 order passed by a single judge of the high court setting aside a similar notice issued by the Rohini Bar Association directing interns not to wear black coats.

The dress code for lawyers is white shirt and neckband and black coat and trouser.

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