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Copy of advocate’s I-Card with petition? Calcutta HC seeks suggestions from Bar Council after scam rocks judiciary
Kolkata, Sep 13 (IANS) After a scam involving the filing and movement of a fake petition rocked the Calcutta High Court recently, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has now been moved, praying that self-attested photocopies of identity cards of Advocates-on-Record as well as petitioners be attached with the petitions, so they may be traced.
On Monday, the bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed the Bar Council of West Bengal and the Bar Associations of Calcutta High Court to file their suggestions on the matter in the form of affidavits.
On July 26, a petition was filed in the name of one Sumona De.
The Advocate-on-Record mentioned was Avijit Pal. On coming to know of this, Sumona De moved an application before the court. This came up for hearing before Justice Md Nizamuddin on August 26.
During the hearing, Sumona’s counsel informed the court that she had filed no writ petition and her signatures had been forged.
On coming to know of the matter, she called up the number of Advocate-on-Record Avijit Pal (as mentioned in the petition) but the person who picked up claimed to be a factory worker.
After hearing this, Justice Nizamuddin directed the West Bengal CID to initiate a probe and submit a report by September 26, when the matter comes up for hearing again. The Notary Public whose stamp and signature appear on the petition will also be interrogated by the CID team headed by an IPS officer, Justice Nizamuddin directed.
The fraud, which caused severe embarrassment to the judiciary (both the Bar and Bench) has left several advocates wondering whether this was an extortion attempt using the High Court.
Finally, a PIL was moved by one Vijay Kumar Singhal through advocate Phiroze Edulji, praying for directions that all petitions have self-attested photocopies of identity documents of both the petitioner and the Advocate-on-Record.
Such a document can be the identity card issued by the Bar Council, the Bar Association of Calcutta High Court, Bar Library Club or Incorporated Law Society.
It was pointed out in the petition that if such a scam can occur in the highest seat of justice in the state of West Bengal, the lower courts are vulnerable.
It was also submitted that genuine lawyers are suffering due to the scam with people assuming that just anybody can file a writ in the High Court.