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The Supreme Court in the matter deciding the validity of Bar Council of India (Certificate of Practice) Verification Rules, directed all the universities on Wednesday to verify educational certificates of law degree holders without charging a fee from the Bar Council of India (BCI) or State bar councils.

Supreme Court in its earlier order dated 20.10.2016 instructed the University Grants Commission to request the universities to carry out the verification of certificate(s) filed by the advocates in respect of their law degrees with the concerned Bar council.  The Court also instructed that if any fee is required to be paid for such verifications, the universities may request the concerned Bar councils to pay the same.

In light of the order, UGC requested all the Universities to take appropriate urgent action in this regard and issued a public notice. In last hearing on 10.02.2017, it seems that some report was made to the Court about charging of fees by the Universities / Colleges for verification of degrees. After perusing the report, it seems that Supreme Court directed University Grants Commission to be present in the Court on the next date of hearing. Subsequently, UGC referring to the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, issued notice and directed all the concerned Universities to be represented on the next date of hearing that is 28th February, 2O17.

BCI later moved an application before Supreme Court seeking waiver from payment of verification of fees as the charges being levied was varying from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2000 from University to University. BCI informed the Court that it will have to incur almost 60 Crores for the purpose of verification, which is not in a position to pay.

The Supreme Court, by way of Interim Order, directed all the universities on Wednesday to verify educational certificates of law degree holders without charging a fee from the Bar Council of India (BCI) or state bar councils, within 4 weeks from the receipt of such request. The Court also however clarified that the order was interim in nature and a final direction regarding the cost would be taken once the petitions challenging the BCI’s rule is decided.

BCI Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 makes it mandatory for all lawyers to re-register in a new format where they have to compulsorily submit all their certificates starting from class X board results. Verification of degrees under these Rules have been mandatory on several counts, and majorly it includes fake practitioners, bogus voting etc.

EduLegaL View:

There are instances, which have also been reported in media, where person impersonating as lawyer have been found to be pleading case before the Court. The objective of the Rule is to verify the certificates and genuineness of the enrolment certificates submitted by the advocates. So, what is wrong with this Rule? I do not know why should it land in Court?

In fact, many lawyers, without informing the Bar join services. Any wrong practice within any profession must be curbed. How does one regulate the profession. These Regulations, would certainly fall within reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to practice own profession.

Ravi Bhardwaj

Education News | Higher Education | Education Law and Policy

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