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BCI Mishra's guesstimate of real & fake lawyers in India spikes to record 2 million

LI has asked BCI for years how many lawyers there are. Mishra too is keen to find out now.
LI has asked BCI for years how many lawyers there are. Mishra too is keen to find out now.

There are now “about 20 lakh” lawyers in India, according to Bar Council of India chairman Manan Kumar Mishra. The BCI’s data on lawyers’ verification has revealed that Delhi has the maximum number of “fake” lawyers.

There are 55,000 registered lawyers in Delhi at present, out of which more than 20,000 have a valid licence but are not practicing, reported India Today, citing BCI’s latest data.

Mishra told India Today: "There are about 20 lakh lawyers in the country. The council, since its establishment in 1961, had never carried out any such verification process for lawyers. We never had any data concerning lawyers in the country. We will have it now. The process will help to eliminate fake lawyers."

‘About’ 2 million lawyers

Mishra’s estimate of the total number of lawyers in India has fluctuated from 1.2 million in 2011, to a 30 per cent increase to 1.7 million by January 2013, and then an unexplained downward fluctuation to 1.3 million by February 2013, obtained in a Right to Information response from the BCI.

On 18 May Mishra told the Hindustan Times that there were 1.7 million advocates practising in the country.

In mid-2015 Mishra claimed that “thirty per cent of all lawyers are fake, who either hold fraudulent degrees or are non-practising persons and 20 per cent of those who sport lawyers robes do not have proper degrees”.

The Supreme Court has ordered all state bar councils to complete the verification process of the lawyers on their rolls by June 30, and submit a report to the BCI which will update the Supreme Court of the status of the process by the first week of July, reported Hindustan Times.

This 10 May order of the Supreme Court came in the hearing of a petition by a Delhi-based advocate challenging the verification process on the ground that the BCI was using it to merely delay elections in various state bar councils.

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.

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