Hit by a bribery scandal allegedly involving two of its key members - its Chennai-based vice-chairman Dhanpal Raj and member Rajinder Singh Rana -- the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Tuesday decided to suspend inspections of law colleges across the country for the next three months.
This and some other drastic decisions came on a day when the CBI announced a recovery of Rs 75 lakh during the raids at the residence of Dhanpal Raj.
The BCI, the apex regulator for the legal profession and education in the country, in its emergency meeting on Tuesday night decided to form a three-member ombudsman body comprising top jurists to receive complaints from law colleges.
"The meeting passed a resolution to request eminent jurists Fali S Nariman, KK Venugopal and BV Acharya to be a part of the ombudsman panel to look into inspection-related complaints," BCI member Ashok Parija told HT.
"The meeting chaired by council chief Gopal Subramanium decided to keep a moratorium on fresh inspections for the grant of recognition to law colleges across the country for the next three months," Parija said.
BCI will now conduct inspections only after the formation of a specialised inspections committee with fresh rules.
The regulator is also likely to seek an external audit of all the inspections done by its members during the last five years and blacklist institutions offering any inducement. “The modalities are being worked out,” Parija said.
Also, the BCI is likely to remove both Dhanpal Raj and Rana from the legal education committee.
On Monday, the CBI had arrested Rana for accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh for a favourable inspection report to Ghaziabad-based Global Law College. It has also arrested another lawyer Manish Tyagi, a member of the advisory board of the Ghaziabad college. He was allegedly dealing with Rana. Rana and Tyagi have been remanded to CBI custody for two days.
The CBI has seized 52 files of other inspection cases of colleges from the BCI office.
A Delhi police inspector is also under the scanner for having removed evidence from Rana's residence.