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Bar council democracy remains suspended as 'fake' lawyer verification extended again for 15-month delay

Turns out trying to figure out how many fake lawyers there are takes a lot of time...
Turns out trying to figure out how many fake lawyers there are takes a lot of time...

The Supreme Court last week granted another extension of three months to all state bar councils, which have been struggling to complete verification of lawyers under the Bar Council of India (BCI) (Certificate of Practice) Rules.

The order by justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy, as first reported by Bar & Bench and LiveLaw , held that its earlier order that the verification process should be completed by 30 June 2016, stood modified and extended by another three month period.

The challenge to the validity of the rules would also be heard by then, ordered the court.

Read order here (via LiveLaw).

Bar & Bench reported that:

Advocate R Balasubramanian, appearing for the Bar Council of Delhi submitted that there are around 54,000 advocates enroled with the Delhi Bar Council. Out of that, around 30,000 have submitted their verification forms. He said that more time would be needed to verify the information received by the Bar Council.

What of BC elections?

However, according to one petitioner according to the May 2016 Hindustan Times report, several bar council elections, including that of the Delhi bar council had been stayed by the BCI ostensibly in order to complete the verification process, which faces further and further delays.

The current Delhi bar council members were elected on 18 December 2009 for a five-year term that should have expired in December 2014 (according to the Delhi bar council FAQs on its website ).

However, despite the expiry of the term, no elections have been held at the Delhi bar council for more than 18 months now.

Delays now hit 15 months

The rules were first floated in January 2015, with a deadline of 13 June 2015, seeing stays by the Kerala and Karnataka high courts.

In August 2015, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra had said that the verification process would be completed in only six to seven months, fixing a deadline for registrations of 31 December 2015 in September of that year.

The petitioner Ajayinder Sangwan and others are represented by advocate-on-record Vivek Narayan Sharma, and advocates Tarunesh Kumar, Sidharth Mahajan, Rishima Parashar, Narendra Singh, Rajeev Kumar Jha, Mata Prasad Singh, Izharalam, KR Chitra, and Ranjana Rastogi Singh.

The bar council petitioners' counsel includes senior advocates KK Venugopal, Amrendra Sharan, and Kalyan Kr Bandhopadhyaya.

Last month the Supreme Court exempted advocates-on-record (AoR) from the verification process, classing them as a special category of advocates.

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