Bar Council proposes to tweak rules again for identification of fake lawyers
Bar Council of India (BCI), the topmost statutory body governing education, enrollment, practice and conduct of lawyers across the country, had earlier notified Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 (‘Verification Rules’) to provide for identification of fake lawyers. The Verification rules empower its decision making panel to oust fake people from court campus and identify non practicing advocates.
The Rules further empowers BCI to periodically verify details of an advocate already enrolled with some State Bar Council, the aim being to verify the place where the lawyer normally practices, bar association where he is a member, the address/email ID/enrollment number/year, the institutions from which the advocate has passed his graduation and LLB.
Later on, the Bar Council of India in its General Council Meeting held on June 6, 2015 has considered and accepted the amendments proposed by the sub-committee to the Verification Rules. The proposed amendments aim to:
i. Lift the exemption available to Senior Advocates: The proposed amendments aims to lift of the exemption available to Senior Advocates designated under Section 16 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (‘the Act’) and Advocates on Record of Supreme Court of India from filling up verification form.
The extant provision under rule 5 (a) exempts Senior Advocates designated under Section 16 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (‘the Act’) and Advocates on Record of Supreme Court of India from filling up verification form. They are simply required to send their two passport size photographs with their names and current address to the concerned Bar Council through their respective Associations so that their names could be included in voters – list of State Bar Council. There is a Separate form ‘Form E’ for that purpose.
Now, the rule 5(a) shall be repealed and new 5(a) shall be inserted providing that – The Senior Advocates designated under Section 16 of the Advocates Act and Advocates on Record of Supreme Court of India are required to fill Form E for Senior Advocates and Form F(new) for Advocates on Records (‘AORs’). They shall also be required to send two passport size photographs alongwith duly filled up forms to their respective Bar Associations or the concerned State Bar Council, so that their names could be included in electoral roll of State Bar Council. The senior Advocates shall be required to deposit a sum of Rs. 500 and the AORs shall deposit the fee to be decided by their respective State Bar Councils. All the State Bar Council shall be required to inform the Supreme Court Bar Association and the AOR Association of Supreme Court about the fee for verification of Certificate of Practice fixed by them forthwith”.
ii. Entitles Advocate doing chamber practices/engaged in Law firms to apply for verification of their certificate and place of practice: The proposed amendments entitles the Advocates doing chamber practices, or engaged with some Law firms who are unable to file vakalatnamas in any court or forum to apply for verification of their certificates and place of practice
Under extant norms, an Advocate is deemed to be practice, if he is able to establish that he has appeared in any court or has filed vakalatnama even in one case before any Court of Law/other forum in a year before the rules come into force.
Proposed norms also provides that, the Advocates doing chamber practices, or engaged with some Law firms who are unable to file vakalatnamas in any court or forum would also be entitled to apply for verification of their certificates and place of practice. They shall be required to file an affidavit stating that they are doing Legal practice and shall have to furnish at least proof to this effect. Those who are engaged in any registered law firm shall be required to obtain a certificate from the Law firm and submit it alongwith their applications form.
iii. Allows State Bar Councils to make changes in Verification process/Fee: The proposed amendment allows the State Bar Councils to make any change in the Verification/process fee as per their own requirements and necessities subject to approval by the Bar Council of India