Temporary relief for non-practising advocates

The extension of the deadline for Bar Councils to verify the credentials of advocates by three months has come as a temporary relief for those registered but not practising in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They face penal action including possible disqualification depending on the seriousness of violations after the fresh deadline draws to a close. The original deadline expired on June 30. The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Bar Councils three more months from July 1 to find such advocates and initiate disciplinary action against them.

The two States have 80,132 advocates — 38,857 in A.P. and 41,211 in Telangana — registered with the Andhra Pradesh Bar Council, which is not yet divided, in addition to 64 advocates from other States.

The number may go up with new registrations.

A large number of them, at least 40 per cent, are non-practising, according to All India Lawyers’ Union General Secretary (A.P) N. Srinivasa Rao.

They are either engaged in business or are self-employed in diverse fields and some of them might be genuine cases.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu that the Bar Councils were supposed to check the credentials of advocates as per the Certificate of Practice (COP) Rules, 2015. The Apex Court gave the additional time keeping the procedural issues in view.

After the Bar Councils finish segregating the practising and non-practising advocates, who include fake ones, instructions barring them from appearing in courts will be issued and benefits like payments from the advocates’ welfare fund stopped. However, they will still be on the rolls.

The number of registered advocates at the national level is around 19 lakh and the non-practising ones are a pan-India phenomenon being dealt with by the Bar Councils for a long time.

The COP Rules are specifically targeted at fake advocates who do not have any valid certificates of their qualification and they will be prohibited from practising forever after the due process of verification is taken to its logical conclusion.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2021 5:37:54 PM |

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