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Madras High Court is Making Reckless Comments, Says BCI Chairman

The court, in an order on October 10, held the BCI responsible for "institutionalizing mediocrity in the profession by randomly granting approval to law colleges", calling lawyers as people in “black and white dress acting as hooligans”.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:October 16, 2017, 9:39 PM IST
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Madras High Court is Making Reckless Comments, Says BCI Chairman
File photo of the Madras High Court.
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New Delhi: Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra on Monday accused the Madras High Court of making “reckless comments” after the HC held the body responsible for "institutionalizing mediocrity” in the practice of law.

The court, in an order on October 10, held the BCI responsible for "institutionalizing mediocrity in the profession by randomly granting approval to law colleges", calling lawyers as people in “black and white dress acting as hooligans”.

Talking to News18, Mishra said that these were "reckless comments from the court without knowing the full truth."

The judgment by Justice N Kirubakaran said that getting a law degree from “letter pad colleges” is a common practice and asked BCI on what basis it had increased number of law colleges in India which stood at 800 (in 2014) against the needed 175 colleges in 2010. It also said that some advocates were "paid hooligans" dressed in black and white.

"These are absolutely incorrect observations. Without even noticing Bar Council of India, and without even listening to us, such an observation has been made,” Mishra said.

“For approval of any law college there are three stages. First, the institution has to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the state government. Then, after it is inspected and verified by the concerned university, it gets affiliation. Affiliation cannot be done unless a team from the university visits the college, checks all the papers, and verifies the infrastructure. The last step is approval by the BCI. Therefore, Bar Council of India simply approves the affiliation granted by the University," Mishra told News18.

The comments came on a petition moved by second year MBBS students of Annai Medical College and Hospital which was started last year. The students petitioned that they be absorbed in government institutions as the college had failed to repay loans and was taken over.

While making observations in the case, the court came down heavily on BCI. "The Bar Council has been giving approval without even ascertaining whether those colleges are having proper infrastructures or not…more than 200 law colleges are functioning in Andhra Pradesh and about 125 law colleges are functioning in Karnataka. These kind of people who purchase the law degrees from letter pad institutions do not prefer to practice before the Court, but they prefer only to indulge in “Katta Panchayat”, under the guise of resolving the civil disputes," the court said.

"Such a reckless observation against any statutory institution is most unfortunate. That too by only knowing the half truth about an issue. BCI has constituted a legal education committee and it's a very high level committee. It is headed by a former Supreme Court judge with a chief justice of a high court, three to four judges of high courts, five vice-chancellors of national law universities and also senior advocates and legal luminaries. It is them who decides on this issue of approving affiliation or not," Mishra said.

On the court’s observation that some lawyers were hooligans, Mishra said it was an exception. "Exceptions are always there but it is not the rule. The majority of lawyers are law abiding. Among sitting judges, there is one from Madras that is rotting in jail. But that does not mean that the entire judiciary is bad and corrupt," he said.

He said that now he will go through the judgment and will challenge the verdict if it is found to be wrong.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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