12 lakh fake lawyers plague India's courts

The Bar Council of India’s new verification system has exposed the horrifying fact that 60 per cent of advocates are fake, doubling the numbers in two years.
A view of the Supreme Court premises. | PTI
A view of the Supreme Court premises. | PTI

NEW DELHI: Sixty per cent or 12 lakh of the 20-odd lakh lawyers practicing in India are fake. The number doubled after the Bar Council of India made it mandatory for advocates to renew their licence every five years. To weed out fraud lawyers from the system and strengthen the verification process of practicing advocates, BCI has written to all State Bar Councils to charge enrollment fees. Their university and college degrees will be sent to it for verification.

The Council has discovered that a large number of lawyers without proper certificates are working in courts. Last year, it had informed the Supreme Court that 30 per cent of lawyers from the 20 lakh registered in India hold fraudulent degrees.

To stem the rot further, the BCI has written to all State Bar Councils to charge lawyers `2,500 as enrolment fees. Under the new guidelines, an advocate is required to submit documents of all educational degrees at the time of enrollment to the State Bar Council, which in turn will send the copies to the concerned board/university for verification within five days of their submission.

Enrollment to the State Bar Councils will be completed only after an official reply, in the absence of which, candidates may be granted provisional enrolment for six months.

The State Bar Councils can interview them first before sending out the enrollment certificates. They are then required to send the details of the enrolled candidates to the BCI within 10 days. Recently, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar expressed concern over the hike in number of fake lawyers, saying, “It is not only about people with fake degrees, but also about those with no degrees. These people work without a licence. They go to court and practice without any authority.”

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The New Indian Express