The Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) on Wednesday (July 14, 2021) suspended the practice license of 10 advocates on the account of allegedly submitting fake COVID positive reports to avail monetary aid.
While implementing its scheme to provide ex gratia relief to its member Advocates and their next of kin affected by COVID-19, the Delhi Bar Council has found several cases of fake test reports to secure financial assistance.
The lawyers had approached the council seeking financial aid on the ground of COVID positive report, however, when their reports were sent further to laboratories for verification, there existed no occurrence on the record of the concerned reports. BCD then labeled the offense not only as grave misconduct but also amounting to offenses of forgery and cheating.
While suspending a lawyer for a similar offense on July 9, the council said, “It is apparent that COVID report submitted by the said lawyer is fake and claiming financial help on the basis of fake report not only announced to misconduct but also forgery and cheating.”
Taking cognizance of such incidents the Delhi Bar Council has decided to verify COVID reports of approximately 4000 lawyers. The council took this decision while observing the scrutiny of 200 random applications and having found that 10 advocates had furnished forged COVID reports.
Bar Council of Delhi Chairman directed the constitution of a three-member committee comprising Advocate Murari Tiwari (Member BCD), Advocate Sanjay Rathi (Member BCD), and Advocate Piyush Gupta (Hony. Secretary, BCD) in Special Disciplinary Committee (SDC). The Special Disciplinary Committee is set to immediately investigate the matter to save the dignity and credibility of the institution and legal fraternity and has asked the offenders to appear before it within seven days, failing which it shall proceed ex-parte and take appropriate action.
“Ramesh Gupta, Chairman, while considering the gravity of the issue and to uphold the dignity and honor of the legal fraternity exercised his special powers conferred under Rule 43 of the Bar Council of Delhi India Rules and Section 6(1)(d) of the Advocates Act, 1961, referred the issue to the Special Disciplinary Committee, and as an interim measure, considered it necessary and appropriate to suspend your license to practice until the finding and conclusion by the Disciplinary Committee,” the BCD resolution and the suspension of enrolment-cum-show cause notice read.
The Council warned that the opportunity of voluntarily tendering an apology and returning the money would be granted only once, and later, strict disciplinary action would be taken against all those found involved in the fabrication of COVID reports for claiming grants.