Bar Council of India launches country-wide verification, to punish fake law degree holders
BCI plans to develop new colleges and shut down the non-performing ones. Read to know more.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has launched a country-wide verification process over suspicion of advocates holding fake degrees. BCI has also imposed a three-year ban on new colleges during which it will take stock. It plans to develop the new colleges and shut down the non-performing ones.
Satish Abarao Deshmukh, vice-chairman, BCI, said that 30 colleges have been given show-cause notices for flouting faculty-recruitment norms and might face closure.
He said that till 1961, each university had its own set of rules, but the BCI gradually developed the rules and got them approved by the Parliament. He informed that now they enrol students of those colleges that follow rules and take approval from the BCI in the Bar Councils. Citing an example, he said that they recently refused to enrol two colleges in Maharashtra as they don’t comply with their rules.
The Universities which have not taken BCI’s affiliation are fake and the students with a degree from these universities or institutes hold fake degrees.
The Council will de-recognise the colleges/universities which do not fulfil the rules. As per Deshmukh, they plan to identify all such universities or colleges in the next 6 months.
Following the arrest of law minister of Delhi, Jitender Singh Tomar, over possessing a fake law degree, the issue of fake degrees had surfaced. It was followed by a probe leading to confusion about the degrees of many lawyers from Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court had then asked them (BCI) to identify and verify all the degrees. The Council handed over the work to State Bar Councils.
Deshmukh informed that all those who have the possession of such fake degrees will be charged under Section 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for cheating) 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109/120B (abetment of criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), and will have to face 7 years of imprisonment.
The Vice-Chairman said, “Those who possess a fake degree will never fill up the verification form. We started the process in 2015-16 through State Bar Councils. At the time, we had 16 lakh lawyers and we expected 16 lakh filled forms to come back… but received only 11 lakh filled forms. The rest didn’t fill any. Those who are genuine will fill the form, the fake degree holders will not.”
On de-recognition of colleges/universities, he said that they have not absolutely de-recognised the universities or colleges. "It’s a question of the future of the students who have not taken admission in them," he said. “We’ve just given them show-cause notices… asked them to fulfil the compliance required in the next two to three months’ time,” he added. He further said that there are around 30 colleges to whom they have served the notices. He also said that the verification process is a long process adding that it is difficult to verify lawyers, colleges and universities from the year 1961.