Deemed Universities Too Speed Up Process
Driven by the Supreme Court's tough stance on verification of lawyers' degrees, the Savitribai Phule Pune University has created a special cell, headed by an assistant registrar, for verifying the law degrees being referred to it by the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (BCMG) and other state bar councils.
On Tuesday , the Supreme Court warned all universities to complete the verification process within eight weeks or else the vice chancellor of the university concerned will face action for contempt of court.
Bharati Vidyapeeth and Symbiosis, both deemed universities based in Pune, too have started the verification process without charging any fees as has been directed by the apex court. Harshad Nimbalkar, BCMG's outgoing chairman and ad hocmember of the special panel overseeing the bar council affairs, told TOI on Wednesday , “The apex court's order is applicable, in the immediate context, to Delhi University and lawyers enrolled with Delhi Bar Council, but it is bound to impact the verification process undertaken by nine other state bar councils, including Maharashtra and Goa, where elections to a new body are on hold for some time now.“
In 2015, the Supreme Court, while taking a serious view about instances of bogus lawyers practicing in the courts, had directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to start verification of lawyers' degrees and not to hold any fresh state bar council elections unless such verification was completed. The BCI then in troduced Bar Council of India (Certificate of Practice) Verification Rules, 2015.
The state bar councils asked their member-lawyers to fill up the verification forms and started sending their degrees to the universities concerned for verification. On the university confirming the veracity of such degree, the lawyer concerned was to be included in the state bar council's voters' list. This way , only genuine lawyers would be on the bar council rolls.
Many universities were reluctant to do the verification due to cost and other factors. They started demanding verification fees from the state bar councils.The latter argued that the bar councils were charging only Rs100 per verification form and there was no way they could bear the burden of verification fees. This prompted the BCI to take the matter to the Supreme Court.