Competition Comm dismisses complaint against Bar Council of India

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a complaint which alleged that the Bar Council of India (BCI) was abusing its dominant position with respect to legal education in the country.

The complaint was regarding the BCI rules that impose maximum age restrictions for new entrants into the legal education. It was also alleged that the BCI members who are managing the affairs were misusing the council’s dominant position in controlling legal education in the country.

Rejecting the complaint, the CCI said that the BCI appears to carry out functions which are regulatory in nature in respect of the legal profession.

"In the present matter, when the BCI appears to be discharging its regulatory functions, it cannot be said to be an ‘enterprise’ within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the (Competition) Act and consequently, the allegations made in relation to discharge of such functions which appears to be non-economic in nature, may not merit an examination within the provisions of Section 4 of the Act," the regulator said.

Section 4 pertains to abuse of dominant position.

"… the Commission is of the opinion that there exists no prima facie case under the provisions of Section 4 of the Act," the CCI said in an order passed on Wednesday.

The complaint against the BCI and some of its office bearers was filed by an individual working as an executive engineer in the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) who is planning to voluntarily retire to pursue legal education.

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