LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to hold a scrutiny into alleged illegal admissions made by 32 law colleges affiliated with the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, and gave it four weeks to submit its findings.

A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi is hearing the matter relating to mushroom growth of private law colleges under the BZU umbrella for not implementing the court order.

The court also directed the FIA to establish money trail to recover cash from BZU and private colleges to compensate the students.

The law colleges in question admitted around 14,000 students in the three years LLB programme in its different campuses in back dates.During the course of proceedings, Justice Mazahar asked the BZU Vice Chancellor, who was present in the court, that he had failed to implement the Supreme Court order for the last three years.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan asked why the record of students had not been provided to the Directorate of Legal Education yet. “If there is any tampering in the record, all involved will go behind the bars,” he warned, adding there was a deliberate delay in providing the record.

The counsel for the Pakistan Bar Council told the court that the BZU was supposed to cancel the affiliation of 32 law colleges on the SC order but it did not de-affiliate even a single law college since 2018.

The BZU lawyer said the university administration had brought all the record which would be submitted to the directorate.

Lawyer Nasreen Majeed Chauhan told the court that lawyers challenging the degrees of fellow lawyers were being targeted. She said Advocate Mohammad Nadeem was picked up by CIA for challenging the degree of Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon and he was booked in a murder case.

The issue of fake degrees, she said, had already been taken up by the Supreme Court in the same case.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case with a direction to file an application in the high court regarding fake degrees of lawyers.

Earlier, then governor Chaudhry Sarwar had ordered the BZ|U vice-chancellor to fix responsibility in the private law colleges scam after a three-member inquiry committee looked into findings of an inquiry conducted earlier and identified the culprits who allowed 41 affiliated colleges to flout rules to enrol more than 10,000 students.

In its findings, the Dr Omar Chaudhry-led committee (constituted earlier to probe the matter) concluded that each of the 29 approved private colleges had admitted up to 300 students against the BZU sanctioned strength of 100.

It said 10 colleges had no BZU permission at all to go for LLB part-I (three-year course) admissions and hence all their registered students were prima facie illegal.

It said the colleges brazenly flouted affiliation and admission rules.

“The Pakistan Law College, Pakpattan, was never affiliated with the BZU and hence all students registered by it were illegal. It further said the registration of students by some colleges was done without depositing the registration fee.

The inquiry said there was no mechanism for calculation, collection and verification of registration fee on the part of the BZU and private colleges.

“There is a serious lack of coordination between the registrar office and the treasurer office for verification of university income.”

It also states that the vouchers of examination fee and registration fee submitted by the colleges were fake. “It needs to be further verified for how long this practice by the said colleges has been continuing,” the inquiry said.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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