Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today asked the Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex body of lawyers, to crack the whip on law colleges which lack appropriate infrastructure by shutting them down.
"There are law colleges where you may not have faculty, no library or where attendance will not be marked. I believe there are law colleges where you have to just go and pay the fees, the rest is taken care off.
"How can a legal profession or how can you tolerate this kind of situation? I believe this is a great responsibility cast upon the Bar Council of India (BCI) and bar councils to shut down such shops. I am sure that the admission standards will be raised," Justice Thakur said.
Calling it a challenge for the BCI to remove lawyers who bring disrepute to the legal profession, the CJI said there are some people who enter the field just because it adds respectability.
"Unwanted and unprofessional members in the bar and their isolation and removal are also a challenge. I can assure that the real core of the profession is very good. But there are some people who enter into this profession because it adds respectability.
"...I think one of the challenges that you have to take immediately is that you must identify and weed out such elements so that the bar remains in its pristine glory, in its purest form... So that only the professions remains," he said during a felicitation ceremony at Bar Council of India.
The CJI said disciplinary control over members of the bar is very important and suggested that an independent tribunal could be appointed for action against lawyers.
"So you (BCI) need to deal with such elements very very seriously. Appointing a tribunal for disciplinary action can be one such thing. If you have five lawyers sitting to decide disciplinary action against another lawyer, it will be embarrassing. Why should you face that embarrassment? Why not have independent tribunal for the action which you (BCI) say can't be tolerated at any cost?" Justice Thakur asked.
The CJI also red-flagged the deteriorating quality of law
education, and asked the BCI to raise the standard of admission to law colleges and into the legal profession.
"Why can't the Bar Council say that we will not accept anything less than first division and that too through a competitive examination? And, you should restrict the number of admissions these colleges give so that you can control this. Otherwise this profession will be so overcrowded.
"The more this profession gets overcrowded, the more the malpractices because people will have to survive. You have to make a mechanism so that only the best come into the profession. Let the profession become competitive and we can say we are no way less than any other profession," he said.
Other judges who were present during the occasion include Supreme Court judges Dipak Misra, A K Sikri, M Y Iqbal, R Banumathi, Arun Mishra and P C Pant.
BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra highlighted the steps taken by the Council against strikes and absenteeism from work in court called by various bar associations.
He also said that the Council has decided to revise the curriculum of law courses to meet today's competitive standards.