The Supreme Court today said it would hear all the universities in the matter relating to challenge to the Bar Council of India (BCI) Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015, which mandate verification of lawyers.
“We will hear all of you and decide it once and for all,” a bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said after senior advocate K K Venugopal, representing BCI, said that the apex court can hear the University Grants Commission (UGC) and all the univeristies in the matter.
At the outset, Venugopal said it is assumed that there are 1.7 million lawyers in the country but no verification has been done for long.
“This 1.7 million is only an imaginary number. How many of them are still practising is not known,” he said.
The bench also asked BCI to publish advertisements in a national newspaper and different regional newspapers asking the universities to join the matter pending before the apex court.
When the counsel appearing for some petitioners told the court that process of verification being followed by BCI was never-ending, the bench said “Don’t worry, we will take care of it”.
The bench asked the UGC to communicate its order to all universities and fixed the matter for hearing after two weeks.
The apex court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging BCI’s 2015 Rules making it mandatory for all the lawyers to undergo the verification drive to check the professional credentials of practicing advocates.
BCI, the apex bar body, has undertaken the verification drive to weed out law practitioners with fake law degrees.
The BCI had in 2015 amended the rules for the verification process to filter out fake advocates among over 15 lakh practising laywers in the country.
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.
( Source – PTI )