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Bombay HC asks Bar Council to decide on lawyer's plea for re-registration

Bombay HC asks Bar Council to decide on lawyer's plea for re-registration

Mumbai, Nov 25 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has come to the aid of a lawyer from Solapur whose registration to practice as an advocate was suspended by the Bar Council of India (BCI) in 2011.Lawyer Mahendra Kawchale's registration was suspended by the BCI, first, for submitting a fake law degree, and then his application for re-registration was kept pending as he had been convicted in a case of cheating and forgery.A bench of justices BP Dharmadhikari and Sarang Kotwal directed the BCI to look into Kawchale's application seeking re-registration and take an appropriate decision within a week.In May 2011, the BCI suspended Kawchale's registration with the council and his enrolment that enabled him to practise law.The BCI informed him, at the time, that it had come to its knowledge that the law degree submitted by Kawchale for registration was fake.An inquiry by the BCI had revealed that Kawchale had secured the degree through a correspondence course from a college that was not recognised by the BCI or the University Grants Commission.Kawchale's lawyer in Bombay HC, however, informed the bench led by Justice BP Dharmadhikari that he accepted the BCI's allegations and went on to get admitted to a recognised college of law in Pune.In 2015, he completed his three-year law degree from the ILS Law College, Pune, and applied for re-registration with the BCI on the basis of the new degree.His application, however, has remained pending since then.Kawchale told the Bombay HC that, in 2016, following repeated queries to the BCI's enrolment committee, he was told that his application had been kept pending not just because of the previous fake degree incident, but, also because it had come to light that Kawchale had been convicted in a criminal case in the past.In June 2015, a Solapur magistrate court had convicted Kawchale in a case of forgery and cheating.Kawchale, however, told the HC that he had subsequently been acquitted in the case.He argued before the HC that since the BCI's rules didn't provide for one's disqualification if one was acquitted of criminal charges, and since he now had a new, valid law degree, he must be granted re-registration.The bench, accordingly, directed the BCI to look into Kawchale's case."It appears that after orders dated August 13, 2018, the trial court has acquitted the petitioner. The counsel appearing for Bar Council of Maharashtra informs that the fact of acquittal is coming on record during today's arguments," the bench said."Petitioner to supply the judgment of acquittal to the BCI, and the latter to take suitable decision upon his application for enrolment within further period of one week," the bench said. PTI AYA BNM IJT