Allahabad High Court Directs Bar Council to Obtain Police Reports for Licensing

LI Network

Published on: December 28, 2023 at 13:54 IST

The Allahabad High Court has issued a directive to the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, instructing them to obtain police reports concerning the criminal history of applicants before granting them enrollment as advocates. The aim is to prevent individuals with criminal backgrounds from obtaining licenses to practice law.

In response to this directive, the court has called upon both the state government and the Bar Council of UP to promptly issue necessary instructions and ensure the submission of appropriate police reports from relevant police stations for all pending and new applications, mirroring the process employed for passport issuance.

The Court emphasized that such due diligence procedures would serve to prevent individuals with concealed criminal histories from misleading the Bar Council to obtain a license. Furthermore, it suggested that provisional licenses issued pending an adverse police report could be revoked upon the submission of such a report.

The Court’s decision stems from a case in which Pawan Kumar Dubey raised a complaint against a private respondent for concealing vital information regarding the pendency of 14 criminal cases, including convictions in four cases. The respondent had acquired a license to practice law by withholding this information, leading to a legal challenge.

In its ruling, the Court directed the Bar Council of UP to conduct disciplinary proceedings brought by the petitioner expeditiously, preferably within three months.

Expressing deep concern about the situation in the legal profession, the court highlighted the alarming scenario where an individual with a criminal history managed to obtain a license, emphasizing the potential harm to society and the legal fraternity.

The Court also underscored the importance of the Bar Council having a robust procedure to subject all new license applications to a timely police verification process.

It stated that applicants facing criminal charges or convictions are obligated to disclose such information during the application process, and failure to do so may lead to rejection at the outset, in accordance with the Advocates’ Act.

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