Justice N Kirubakaran of Madras High Court made some very critical observation against the system in India where getting a law degree from a college has become a cake walk recently. It held BCI accountable for enforcing mediocrity in the legal arena by randomly yielding approval to law colleges and thus resulting in the irregular requirement of lawyers in our society. It also asked the BCI, the reason behind rapid increase in number of law colleges in India from 175 in 2010 to 800 in 2014 and 800 in 2014 to 1200 in 2016.
The issue was raised after a group of students of Annai Medical College and Hospital in Tamil Nadu filed a petition in the HC so as to give them the status of government institution as the college and hospital in on the verge of being shut down. During the hearing, when the counsel for the petitioners presented some photographs where some persons dressed black and white were stationed inside the building. On further inquiry, the new trustees and the old trustees shifted the blame on each other for hiring the advocates. The court asked the Superintendent of Police to file a report in this regard according to which, the new trustees and the old trustees as well as hired advocates on September 20 and October 6 respectively.
Following the report, the court observed the people have lost faith in judiciary or in the police which has forced them to take the help of the advocates in black and white avatar to retain possession or to take over possession and it has become very common for any person to hire an advocate to settle civil or property disputes. However, the Deputy Superintendent of Police stated that out of the advocates in photograph, only 5 of them were representing old trustees and new trustees.
The court directed the old trustees and the new trustees to file an affidavit before the court as to enlist all those advocates who were engaged by them for this process and not to mention those who have already been exempted.
The court observed that it has become the mindset of the parties to engage Advocates wearing Black and white dress as hooligans in order to take forcible possession or retain possession and who are even capable of handling the police force. This is the reason people do not exhibit their faith in the judiciary as these paid hooligans in Black and white dress always involve themselves in the property dispute. The court referred such lawyers as “extra constitutional authority.”
In addition, the court also observed the increased number of letter pad colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka who are selling law degrees without even having a regular college. The court found BCI responsible for giving approval to colleges without taking into account the utmost important factors such as infrastructure. It also focused on making biometric attendance rule in law colleges to prevent the large number of candidates from getting a bogus degree. The court also emphasized on the need to stop such illegal acts because these hooligans prefer to indulge themselves only in “Katta Panchayat” under the guise of resolving civil and property disputes. The justice cannot be dispensed when these advocates have gone to the extent of threatening the advocates appearing for the other side.
The court also referred to the Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Anantha Murugan vs Chairman, Bar Council of India where it has been stated that Legal profession is not an asylum for the criminals, the criminals cannot use law degrees as a shield for their illegal activities and the hooligans cannot play the role of an advocate just by wearing white and black dress.
The court recommended the BCI to prescribe at least 75% marks in +2 examination or a minimum prescribed mark in law entrance examinations to secure the admission and also impleaded the BCI to bring up policies where it could grant approval to law colleges on the basis application of mind and requirement of advocates in the country.
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