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BCI finally realises scale of problem: 30% of lawyers may be fake, not 20%

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has implemented two new compulsory requirements for lawyers – submit all educational qualification certificates and get a certification from “court procedure and ethics” training academies, in order to practice in courts.

The BCI is collecting all the certificates of lawyers, “starting class X board results” as part of a long-winded “verification process” which will help the regulator identify the lawyers who have not practiced in the last five years and weed them out, reported the Times of India.

After such identification, under the BCI Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 the lawyers who have not practiced for the last five years will no longer have the licence to practice but can continue to remain enrolled as advocates.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra told the TOI that the “verification process may surprise many and far exceed the initial estimates that over 30% lawyers have fake degrees”.He said: “We have implemented the BCI Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules 2015 and have now made it mandatory for all lawyers to re-register in a new format where they have to compulsorily submit all their certificates starting class X board results.”

“These certificates will then be verified with respective universities and boards,” added the report.

Mishra had said in 2015 that about 20 per cent of practicing lawyers don’t have a valid law degree. He had approached the central government for funds to start lawyers’ academy while promising to weed out lawyers with fake degrees.

In 2011 there were 1.3 million lawyers in India, revealed a right to information (RTI) response by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to Delhi-based advocate Kush Kalra, with an average annual growth rate between 2007 and 2011 of around 4 per cent, as reported by Legally India.

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