Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cleaning the Bar - Bar Council of India

Last year, the law news website Legally India revealed that nearly 30% of India's 76,000 lawyers were fake -- they were simply not eligible to enrol as advocates under the Advocates Act, 1961, the law that governs the legal profession in this country.

Legally India also pointed out inadequacies in how legal education was being imparted, and emphasised the need to make the All India Bar Examination, a qualifying test introduced in 2010, more robust. It laid the blame for the mess largely at BCI's door - for being lackadaisical in the verification process, and letting corrupt practices go unpunished.

The issue of fake lawyers concerns the legal profession, of course, but it's primarily one about citizens' fundamental right to legal representation. An integral part of this right is that a lawyer must be competent

A familiar sight greets litigants outside almost every court in India: lawyers standing on the premises, sometimes even spilling on to the streets, hawking their wares.

In lawyers' lingo, they are referred to as "out-standing lawyers", since they hardly ever see the inside of a courtroom.

Not only do these lawyers do little more than draft affidavits, many are crooks and frauds, as an ongoing case in the Supreme Court has revealed.

The Bar Council of India's Certificate and Place of Practice Rules, 2015 aims to change all this.

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