Shajeeda Sayed, Legal News Reporter
The Apex Court on 24/11/2017, directed that the advocates who have duly complied with the verification process conducted by the Bar Council of India, would be made eligible to cast their votes in the election process conducted by their respective State Bar Councils.
The said matter was placed before the Apex Court on 21st November 2017, and while appearing for the Bar Council of India, Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta, informed the Court that actual number of Lawyers in the country amounted to more than 15 lakhs, whereas there were only 6 lakh lawyers who have submitted their verification forms during the verification drive conducted by the BCI. He further contended that the delay in the summing up of the verification process was mainly because of the short span of time which was allocated to the procedure and also because of the shortage of resources which are required by the university for the disposal of the forms. He also requested the Court to issue directions for the formation of other smaller committees which could mainly support and aid the Universities in finalising the process.
Apart from passing the above order the Court, also prolonged the time limit to conduct various elections of the State Bar Councils. Owing to which, Senior Advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing from the Petitioner’s side, stated that elections and verification process should not be clubbed and there should be no prior condition of completion of the verification process before carrying out the elections. And he also stated, that the election process and the verification drive are both independent of each other and thus, the delay caused in finishing the verification process should not be a ground for conducting elections.
The Apex Court, had provided all the lawyers in the country a time limit of 15 days in the month of August, to submit their duly filled application forms along with other required documents for the authentication of their degrees by the BCI. The provision of the verification and authentication of forms has been made applicable under the Certificate of Practice Rules, 2015. After the completion of the 15 days made available for submission the Apex Court had directed all the State Bar Councils to conduct their respective elections by 31st August 2017. However, because of certain unavoidable reasons, the verification process could not be completed within the allotted time, which also caused the postponement of the State Bar Council’s elections. The Apex Court now wishes to grant some more time for lawyers to submit their documents, who have failed to do so before owing to some or the other justifiable cause. By organising this drive the Supreme Court aims to vanish the fake advocates from the judicial system. But again, the extension might prove to be dangerous as there is a possibility of fake advocates manipulating and misusing the time granted. Thus, the decision of the Apex Court both has its own benefits and drawbacks.