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Report No. 184

Chapter XIII

Disqualification of Employees Dismissed or Removed from Service and Section 24A

13. It appears that for quite some time, the Bar Council of India is not satisfied with the present system of permitting the entry to the profession of certain law graduates who have either been convicted by a Court or who, having been in service, have been removed or dismissed from service on the grounds of moral turpitude.

13.1 Section 24A deals with disqualification for enrolment. As per clause (a) and (b) of sub-section (1), a person cannot be enrolled as an advocate if he is convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude or under the provisions of Untouchability (Offence) Act, 1955. Similarly, as per clause (c), if a person is dismissed or removed from employment or office under the State or any charge involving moral turpitude, he cannot be enrolled as an advocate.

But, at present, section 24A(1) contains a proviso which enables law graduates, who have been convicted or who have been dismissed or removed from service to be enrolled after the expiry of two years from the date of his release from the prison or after the expiry of two years from the date of dismissal or removal, as the case may be. The said proviso to section 24A (1) reads as follows:

"Provided that the disqualification for enrolment as aforesaid shall cease to have effect after a period of two years has elapsed since his release or dismissal or, as the case may be, removal."

Above this proviso, there is an 'Explanation' dealing with service under the State which states that the expression 'State' shall have the meaning assigned to it under Article 12 of the Constitution.

13.2 A few issues arise in connection with section 24A.

It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the proviso below section 24A(1) is permitting a large number of persons who have been convicted or dismissed or removed from service on charges involving moral turpitude to enter the profession after the expiry of 2 years from the dates specified in the proviso. There is a request from the Bar Council of India that such persons ought not to be allowed to enter the profession. It is said that the profession requires high standards of ethics and morality to be maintained and that those who have previous bad record should not be allowed at all to enter the profession. As a consequence, it is stated that the proviso should be deleted.

13.3 The Commission is of the view that in the matter of legal ethics and morality no relaxation is permissible. There is no guarantee that those who have been convicted or whose services have been terminated on charges involving moral turpitude, would cease to show similar tendencies just after the expiry of two years of the date of release from prison or date of dismissal or removal. The disqualification must therefore extend to the rest of their life, and an absolute bar alone will be in the interests of preserving the purity of the legal profession.

13.4 Therefore, we are of the emphatic view that the proviso below section 24A(1) must be deleted.

13.5 Yet another aspect is whether dismissal or removal on the ground of moral turpitude should be a disqualification only in respect of employees under the 'State' as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution of India and whether persons in private employment who have been dismissed or removed from service should not suffer such a disqualification. We do not find any good reason to allow those in service under entities not falling within Article 12, who are dismissed or removed from private service, on charges involving moral turpitude, to be allowed to be enrolled. As at present, section 24A(1) does not disqualify such persons even for two years.

It is, therefore, necessary to delete the words 'under the State' in section 24A(1)(c) and to also delete the Explanation.

13.6 We, therefore, recommend deletion of the Explanation and the proviso below section 24A(1), and also the deletion of the words "under the State" in clause (c) of section 24A (1).

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