Madras HC shocked over enrolment of lawyers without formal education

Madras HC shocked over enrolment of lawyers without formal education
The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu Bar Council and Advocate General Vijay Narayan to issue notices to 713 people for cancellation of their membership.

They had enrolled as advocates after obtaining law degrees based on MA degrees of open universities from 2009 to 2016.

Justice N Kirubakaran also ordered lodging of a police complaint against 42 people who had enrolled in the state bar council without even furnishing proper documents.

He expressed shock at the people with criminal backgrounds and without formal education getting enrolled as advocates using irregular and illegal means such as purchasing law degrees.

The judge gave the order after hearing submissions by the advocate general, who is the ex-officio chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bar Council, and senior counsels for the Bar Council of India, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and others on the matter.

The submissions were made during the resumed hearing of a petition by 17 MBSS students of a private medical college seeking transfer to a state-run institution due to a dispute between trustees of their college in which advocates were engaged to resolve the problem.

On October 12, the judge had taken a stern view of the advocates holding 'kangaroo courts' to resolve the dispute and had directed that criminal action be taken against them.

He had also directed the Centre to take appropriate steps to streamline the legal profession and told the Bar Council to go in for tighter norms for both admissions to law colleges and for approval to new ones.

When the matter came up on Thursday, the advocate general submitted that 42 people were enrolled during 2009-2016 as lawyers without furnishing any basic documents and without even providing their addresses.

Though notices were issued to them online, only two replied and one of person was even found to have enrolled twice.

"People who have not even passed class VI or VII and X standards are able to procure open university MA degrees. Subsequently, the said degrees have been used to get admissions into law colleges and obtain law degrees. Based on the same, they started enrolling (in the bar)," Narayan said.

"It is evident from the submissions that the very process of enrolment is a faulty one. Moreover, the process of acquiring a law degree is very easy by irregular and illegal means viz., purchasing degrees for money from letter pad colleges from other states," the judge said.

In fact, they were engaged like rowdy elements to take over the possession of properties and indulge in other property disputes, causing damage to the image of the legal profession, he said.

The judge then referred to an order of a division bench of the court which had prohibited enrolment of a degree holder from an open university.
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