Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court made some scathing observations against the unsavoury system in place in India where getting a law degree from “letter pad colleges” is a common practice and asked BCI on what basis it has increased number of law colleges in India which stood at 800 (in 2014) against the needed 175 colleges in 2010.
The court delved in to the issue of lawyers acting as hooligans while dealing with a petition moved by second year MBBS students of Annai Medical College and Hospital which was started only last year. The students have petitioned that they be absorbed in government institutions as the college has failed to repay loans and taken over by bank with most of its staff having resigned and hospital having shut down. There is also dispute among the management (the old and the new trustees) which is pending before Civil Court.
The Bench has suo motu impleaded Bar Council of India, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Ministry of Law and Justice and Six others in the case. Justice N Kirubakaran has framed the following 25 questions to be answered by the Bar Council Of India and other newly added respondents to answer;
- Whether the so-called advocates wearing black and white dress are indulging in unlawful activities such as taking possession by force and conducting Kangaroo Courts in collusion with police officials and rowdy elements?
- Though on earlier occasion, the police authorities filed status report stating that more than 6000 such cases have been filed involving the advocates, what is the actual number of such cases, as on date?
- How many groups of persons calling themselves as advocates are involved in these kind of activities?
- Whether the Bar Council as well as the police authorities are aware that the law college students are also lured by these elements to be used as hooligans to grab lands and properties and to adjudicate civil dispute by “katta panchayat”.
- Is it a fact that even if complaints are given against those so-called advocates, complaints are not registered against those persons and the affected parties are forced to delete the names of those so-called advocates from the complaint?
- Whether such affected parties are pressurized by the police in connivance with the so-called advocates to settle the matters/disputes in unlawful manner?
- Whether the so-called advocates are actual advocates or persons disguising themselves as advocates indulging in these activities and whether these groups are being used by any communal, religious, extremists and political groups to settle the civil disputes and other disputes?
- Why the police is afraid of those advocates, even to register a specific complaint against them on the complaint given by the affected parties and is there any reason for it?
- Whether the police and the Bar Councils are aware that criminal elements are purchasing law degrees from letter pad law colleges outside Tamil Nadu with the sole intention to shield their criminal activities using their degrees?
- If any affected party prefers a complaint of the action done by the police in collusion with the so-called advocates, whether any action is being taken against those advocates and police officers and if it is so, what are all the details?
- Though Mr.Gopal Subramanium , the then Ex-officio Chairman of Bar Council of India had categorically stated in the year 2010 itself that the requirement of law colleges in India is only 175, on what basis the Bar Council of India had granted approval for many colleges, increasing the numbers from 800 colleges in the year 2012 to 1200 colleges in the year 2014?
- Is there any survey conducted by the Bar Council of India or Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India to know the actual requirement of lawyers in the society to decide about the number of law colleges, according to the demand?
- If no such survey has been conducted to find out the demand, when it would be conducted?
- When the then Ex-officio Chairman of Bar Council of India, himself had declared that only 175 law colleges is more than enough to serve the requirement, why not this Court prohibit the Bar Council from granting any further approval of law colleges?
- How many students are admitted in law colleges throughout India for the past ten years? [Year wise and State wise details have to be given]
- How many students have come out successfully from the law colleges throughout India for the past ten years? [Year wise and State wise details have to be given]
- How many law graduates are enrolling every year throughout India for the past ten years?
- What are all the steps taken by the Bar Council of India to enhance the standard of legal education and also the dignity of legal profession in general and weed out unruly criminal elements?
- Whether the Bar Council of India has implemented the directions given by this Court in the case of S.M.Anantha Murugan v. Chairman, Bar Council of India reported in (2015) 6 CTC 22, except the three directions which have been stayed by the Hon’ble Division Bench of this Court?
- When the Central Government is going to amend the Advocates Act as per the well meaning recommendations of the law commission which have been made to improve discipline and dignity of the profession and to redeem the profession from the present chaotic position?
- Why not the State Government constitute a committee to deal with the complaints regarding the collusion of police officials and the so-called advocates in dealing with the civil disputes and taking forcible possession of properties and other issues?
- 22.Why not the Bar Council of India make the biometric attendance system mandatory for the students as well as the staffs of the law colleges, as many of the law colleges are selling degrees in absentia, without even conducting classes and without having any infrastructures?
- 23.Why not the Bar Council of India create a centralized portal containing the details of the teaching staffs working in the law colleges/institutions all over India?
- Why not the Bar Council of India prescribe a minimum of 75% marks in +2 for the students to get admission in law colleges or a minimum qualifying mark in the CLAT examination?
- Why not the Bar Council of India get details from each State about the requirement of lawyers and thereafter, decide on granting permission for new law colleges or to close down the surplus law colleges, depending on the requirement in each State?
Justice Kirubakaran observed that the endeavor of this Court is only to safeguard the practicing advocates and also to restore the glorious image of legal profession and to streamline the legal education as well as the profession.
Read the Orders Here[“Source-livelaw”]