Implementing the judgment delivered by Hon’ble Justice Devan Ramachandran in the writ petition T.S. Shyam Prasanth v. The Secretary, Railways & ors. filed before Hon’ble Kerala High Court, The Ministry of Railways issued a Circular dated 8th October 2018 [Commercial circular No. 57 of 2018] to announce that identity card issued by respective Bar Councils issued to advocates will be a valid ID proof for travelling with Indian Railways.

Hon’ble High Court of Kerala while disposing of the said Writ Petition held that “It becomes ineluctable that there cannot be any further cause or concern for the Indian Railways, in accepting the photo identity cards issued by the various Bar Councils. Since the respective Councils are obliged to verify and affirm the authenticity of a card issued by them, in case its genuineness is suspected for any reason by the competent Authorities of the Indian Railways. This is more so because they are statutory bodies, operating under the ambit of the Advocates Act, thus enjoining them to ensure the validity and rectitude of the cards and documents issued by them, is it is so required by any Authority, in terms of law.”

While hearing this matter, the contention raised by the Indian Railways was that the Bar Councils were not government bodies, and further they are available at different levels in the country (district, state, national) and hence in the absence of any uniformity in the cars issued by such bodies, the same ought not to be considered as valid and acceptable. This was rejected by the bench on the ground that the notion of different level of Bar council in the country is incorrect as there is only one respective Bar Council in a particular state and one at the National Level, therefore there is no lack of uniformity.

Considering this, the Indian Railways in its circular stated as follows-

“2. In pursuance of a judgement passed by Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in WP(C) No. 35073 of 2014 the matter has been examined and it has been decided that photo identity Cards with serial number issued to Advocates by Bar Council of India may Also be accepted as proof of identity of passengers for undertaking journey by Train.”

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Circular: Commercial Circular No. 57 of 2018