Days after the lawyers' unrest and suspension of 126 lawyers over their threat to lay siege to Madras High Court, there is more action waiting in the legal front. Around 4000 lawyers in the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry might soon be shown the door for holding fake degrees.
The ongoing verification of certificates of the lawyers as mandated by the Bar Council of India(BCI) will expose the fraudulent and the fake degree holders practicing in the court. Sources in the TN bar council say that out of the 90,000 lawyers practicing in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, only 16,000 have submitted their certificates for verification. “Many have not responded to our calls to submit their certificates. The deadline was actually June 30. Now it has been extended for three more months. But the response is very meager,” said D. Selvam, Chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
These fake law degrees are of three types:
♦ Lawyers enrolled in the bar council years before are untraceable and their certificates are missing
♦ Bogus law degree certificates
♦ Lawyers who have done law on the basis of their direct masters degree under open university scheme, which is not permissible as per Supreme Court ruling.
These three categories continue to haunt the BCI which is now doing verification of certificates.
On July 23, while speaking at Lawyers Meet-2015 organised by the BCI in Chennai, Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said 30 percent of all the lawyers in India are fake and that they hold fraudulent law degrees. He even went on to add that the council will take action against them and that it is statutorily empowered to discipline the errant lawyers.
The BCI crackdown on fake degrees comes days after BCI suspended 126 lawyers of Tamil Nadu and prohibited them from practising in any court or tribunal in the country. The suspension came in the wake of an annoucement by the Joint Action Committee of various bar associations to stage a sit-in at the Madras High Court protesting the recently amended rules to Advocates Act.
The suspension had triggered protests of lawyers on the high court premises on Monday. Every lawyer entering the court premises was screened by the security personnel and only those who had cases listed for the day were allowed to get in.
The bar council and the bench have been at loggerheads at Madras High Court for quite a while. The turmoil reached at its peak last year when a group of advocates with their family members entered the court hall of the chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and staged dharna for the whole day, demanding that Tamil be made the official language of the court.
The ensuing protests and processions became a constant headache for the bench. Following this the Division bench headed by Kaul ordered that the court be brought under CISF protection. In October, the CISF took control of the security and every lawyer or litigant entering the court premises were screened.
And then came the June 6th rally following which BCI chairman Mannan Kumar Mishra again opined severe action on the protesting lawyers. It may be recalled that the BCI had suspended 44 lawyers in Tamil Nadu for their unruly behaviour last year.