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One Madras HC judge bells the legal cat: Directs creation of new Bar Council of India, headed by experts & more

Would the legal cat be happier with a bell?
Would the legal cat be happier with a bell?

Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras high court passed radical directions on a petition asking the court to curb entry of persons with criminal antecedents into the legal profession and to maintain purity of law courses, reported The Times of India.

The various directions included:

1. Bar Council of India (BCI) to abolish three year law course at the earliest and retain only five year course.

2. BCI’s functions to be handled by a body headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court permanently or till amendment of the advocates act to this effect occurs.

3. BCI to consist of academicians, legal luminaries, social workers, retired police and IAS officers and doctors

4. Centre to amend advocates act so that entry of criminals, and communal and extremist elements into the profession is barred

5. Antecedent verification to be made compulsory for law graduates seeking enrollment

6. Graduates facing punishment of non-bailable or compoundable nature to be only provisionally enrolled.

7. BCI to direct every law college to conduct police verification of the students before granting them admission.

8. Police to send antecedent verification within three weeks of receipt of request

9. BCI to not conduct the next bar council elections in 2016 without prescribing minimum qualification like 20 years standing in the bar or a senior counsel not having any criminal background for candidates to be eligible to contest in council polls.

10. To reduce number of law seats in colleges to control the increasing number of law graduates each year.

11. BCI to recognise only one lawyers’ association to enable fairness in working of the same.

Kirubakaran was quoted as saying:

This court hopes that the issue of criminalization of the profession is seriously taken note of by the Supreme Court and the central government and to redeem the profession from the clutches of persons with criminal background.

Also read, today’s column in Mint by Legally India editor Kian Ganz: Who will bell the legal cat? Because it probably won’t be BCI or judiciary...

Photo by Yumi Kimura / By CC

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