U.P. lawyers left in lurch after Bar Council order on renewing practice certificates
Assistant secretary of BCI, Awnish Pandey, in the letter, has said that the permission of apex court is needed for certain amendments.
KANPUR Nearly 1.75 lakh lawyers in Uttar Pradesh are staring at uncertainty as the Bar Council of India (BCI) has prevented the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council from renewing their certificates of practice (COP), which expired on December 31, 2022. The COP, essential for a lawyer to continue with practice, were issued in December, 2017 for five years in U.P.
The BCI letter, a copy of which is with HT, orders U.P. Bar Council to not renew or issue any COP in view of a writ (transferred case (civil) 125/2015) pending before Supreme Court related to verification. Assistant secretary of BCI, Awnish Pandey, in the letter, has said that the permission of apex court is needed for certain amendments. “Once the permission is granted by the Supreme Court and amendments are made, the state bar councils will be directed to undertake the process of verification under the rules of BCI,” the letter said.
In case of Uttar Pradesh, the state bar council started the process of verification hurriedly, the letter said, adding it has emerged that the council was doing so without verifying the genuineness of educational certificate and degrees of lawyers and issuing COP. The U.P. Bar Council had issued the COP in December 2017 under the changed rules according to which, lawyers clearing law exams after 2010 would need COP. The process would require verification of their testimonials and other information such as how many cases they fought in that period.
Speaking on the issue, Ankaj Mishra, co-chair of UP-Bar Council, said the COP of 1.75 lakh lawyers in Uttar Pradesh has expired. “We (the U.P. Bar council) will present our side in the case related to COP renewal process during the SC hearing. The council has already conducted a meeting on this issue. We hope the issue will be resolved soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Sharma, president of the Lawyers’ Association in Kanpur, said the lawyers’ fraternity is concerned with this development. “The COP is compulsory for a practicing lawyer, and for him to submit ‘vakalatnaama’ in the court; we have taken up the issue with state bar council,“ he said.