The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities to verify the certificates of practicing advocates in the wake of large-scale complaints of fake law degrees.
One such complaint led to the ouster of Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar from the AAP government after his arrest in June 2015.
The 2011 survey says there are 1.3 million lawyers in India. Their certificates need to be verified by January 2017.
The UGC directive follows a notification by the Bar Council of India (BCI) — the apex disciplinary body for lawyers — that made it mandatory for all lawyers to verify themselves and their degrees.
The drive is aimed at weeding out bogus advocates holding fake educational certificates. As a part of the drive, respective state bar councils have to send the certificates to the universities concerned.
The Supreme Court too has instructed the UGC to ask universities to verify lawyers’ certificates, a senior UGC official said.
Emphasising that the top court order is time-bound, the UGC has asked the universities to treat its directive as urgent.
The BCI has put in place two mandatory requirements for lawyers. They have to submit all educational qualification certificates as well as get certification from “court procedure and ethics” training academies to practise in courts.
BCI chairman Manan Kumar Misra initiated the drive to detect dubious law practitioners.
As a part of the rectification process, the apex council made it mandatory for lawyers to submit all their certificates, starting from Class 10 onwards.
The UGC also pointed out that if in case any fee is required to be paid for such verifications, the universities can request the bar councils for it.