Of all the myriad schemes and plans they could have adopted to break the law, these 29 men decided to pose as lawyers. Pity they didn’t first look up Sections 416 or 467 of the Indian Penal Code. In a shocking exposé, it has been discovered that 29 ‘lawyers’ have been practicing illegally at Andheri court for the past 10 years.
Their lack of qualifications being exposed having been revealed, the counterfeit lawyers have now fled from the city, fearing that police action would follow. The matter emerged when the Andheri Bar Association recently conducted a survey to check the credentials of the increasing numbers of lawyers who started practicing at the Andheri metropolitan magistrate court recently, only to stumble upon the fact that 29 practitioners, who have represented criminals in various cases, were frauds.
“We were following a High Court order. It was discovered that 29 lawyers had not submitted any documents. We asked them to leave the court premises with immediate effect. Fearing their arrests, they have now fled from the city,” confirmed Kashinath Tripathi, president of the Andheri Bar Association. According to sources at the Andheri court, there has recently been a noticeable influx of advocates from other states. According to regulations, it is mandatory for any lawyer to submit copies of his or her degree certificates with the BAR association before starting practice.
Following the High Court’s order, the association began scrutiny of documents, only to realise that there were problems or discrepancies with documents submitted by around 45 lawyers. Of these, 29 had not bothered to furnish any documents to establish their qualifications — no licence numbers nor identity cards to prove that they are lawyers.
At the time of verification, the association even discovered that one of the 29 alleged frauds owns a paan shop near the court. According to sources, he went on a trip to a north Indian state and managed to wangle a certificate in course of a month. A few other lawyers have also submitted certificates from the same university.
Advocate Santosh Yadav, who practices at Andheri court, said, “I was surprised that in spite of not having any documents, the lawyers were filing vakalatnamas and drafting notaries sitting around the court premises. They were a blot on the fraternity of lawyers. The association has done well by restricting them.”
Advocate Manoj Singh said, “These men committed offenses like criminal breach of trust, forgery and cheating, violating Sections 416, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.”
“This kind of inspection should also be conducted in metropolitan, district, sessions, family, co-operative courts, labour courts as well as industrial tribunals, cooperative courts, charity commissioners, district collectorates, marriage registrars and magistrate courts,” added Singh.
The association appealed to the public to be more careful while going to court. Every person who needs an advocate should check the licence numbers of those they appoint, it was cautioned.