The Pune Bar Association (PBA), parent body of lawyers in the district, has identified 35 suspects impersonating lawyers before various courts.
The PBA has launched a drive to take action against suspects found practising without a 'sanad' (licence to practice) after the Shivajinagar police arrested lawyer Mahendra VishwananthKawchale for allegedly cheating his client Ravindra Latnekar on April 27.
Five suspects, including two at the district and sessions courts, one at the debt recovery tribunal and two at the district collectorate, had been arrested, PBA president Dhananjay Taur said on Monday.
Speaking to TOI, Taur said, "The PBA has started verifying credentials of 20 to 25 impersonators and action against them will be based on the outcome of verification."
Taur said that the PBA would also undertake a similar drive to identify touts who stand as guarantors in criminal cases.
"The association is planning to issue identity cards to practising lawyers in the district after verifying their 'sanad' and other details. The PBA will prepare a new list of lawyers practising before the district and sessions court, family court, labour and industrial tribunals, co-operative court, charity commissioner, district collectorate, marriage registrar and magistrate courts at the taluka level. The move aims to deter impersonators from cheating litigants," Taur said.
He appealed to the litigants to verify the lawyer's'sanad' and identity card of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa before enlisting their services.
A sessions court official requesting anonymity said that all courts in the district had been asked to ensure that lawyers, particularly juniors, write their 'sanad' number on the 'vakalatnama' (authorisation for representation) so that it can be verified by the bar council in case of suspicion.
The official admitted that it was difficult to verify credentials of lawyers coming from states like Madhya Pradesh and Bihar as the procedure to verify the 'sanad' from their respective states' bar councils was time consuming.
Kishore Patil, a lawyer practising at the district and sessions court, suggested that the bar council should start an online system containing details of lawyers, like names, photographs, 'sanad' certificate numbers, among others, which should be linked to all courts in the state. The system will deter impersonators from cheating litigants, Patil said.