In the instant matter of Daeyoung Jung v Bar Council of India & Anr, a plea was filed by the Korean national’s Daeyoung Jung application for enrolment as an advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD). He attempted to enrol in the BCD first but was turned down. He later submitted a representation to the BCI, which was denied. He then went to the High Court, claiming that the BCI’s decision to deny him membership as an advocate on the rolls of the BCD was incorrect because he obtained his legal degree from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) in Hyderabad. He had relied on the argument that, in accordance with Section 24 of the Advocates Act, a Korean national who has studied law in India should be permitted to practice in India because an Indian person who receives a law degree in Korea is eligible to do so.
Analysis of Court Decision
Justice Yashwant Varma of the Delhi High Court’s single bench ruled that foreign people can become advocates in India if Indian citizens are likewise permitted to practise law in their home country.
Additionally, he had argued in the judgement that The Advocates Act, 1961 does not entirely bar foreign nationals from consideration for enrolment and that the proviso to Section 24(1)(a) of the Advocates Act creates an exception for foreigners who may compete for enrolment. In the absence of a nationality restriction clause in a foreign country, their citizens would be entitled to apply for enrolment, subject to their compliance with the other provisions of Section 24, of course. In a thorough ruling, the Bench also stated that, if foreign nationals are otherwise competent, neither the Bar Council of India (BCI) nor the State Bar Councils have the right to exclude them from entering the legal profession.
The single bench noted that when the Union Government determines that a foreign nation is barred from practising law in India because that nation forbids Indian citizens from doing the same, that nation loses its right to practice law in India. The Union Government must properly identify these nations after conducting the necessary inquiries and determining that such a bar is necessary before issuing a notification in accordance with Section 47(1). The Court further stated that the Advocates Act’s Section 47 is founded on the idea of reciprocity between nation-states. Furthermore, Section 47(1) is a power that only the Central government has, thus neither the BCI nor a State Bar Council may have jurisdiction over it.
The Bench concluded that Jung is not claiming a right to enrollment based on a degree received outside of India from a foreign university after carefully reviewing the matter. It also mentioned that the Korean government had already declared that there was no nationality bar in their nation and that anyone interested might sit for the bar exam. While issuing the order denying Jung’s request, Justice Varma condemned the investigation carried out by the BCI. He claimed that it was completely irrelevant and inappropriate to ask if Jung had filed for Indian citizenship. The Court disagreed with BCI’s claim that there may be practical difficulties if foreign nationals who enrolled were subjected to disciplinary action since they might or might not decide to stay in the country throughout those processes. Finally, the Court overturned the BCI’s judgement and instructed it to handle Jung’s enrollment application.