For the last four years, 45-year-old Kamini Sharma had been appearing as a practising advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as district courts across the state. On Tuesday, she was arrested after it was allegedly discovered that she neither possessed a valid law degree nor a license to practice.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association’s vice-president Vikas Malik told Chandigarh Newsline that he received “secret information” that Kamini was posing as an advocate in various courts. He then informed police, who caught her while was in court no. 65.
A resident of Army flats, Sector 44, Kamini claimed she was also one of the office-bearers of her housing society’s Resident Welfare Association. Police are, however, yet to verify her claims.
One of the investigating officers said, “During questioning, Kamini revealed that she started appearing in the courts in 2013, mostly in district courts at Patiala, Mohali and Ludhiana. We also found certain court documents (vakalatnamas) from her possession. We are making a special report that will be sent to the district and sessions judges of the concerned courts for further action. She confessed that she was impersonating an advocate and did not hold any law degree.”
Malik said, “Kamini had also mentioned her bar council enrollment number in one of the vakalatnamas. Through RTI, I found that the enrollment number was actually issued to another Mohali-based advocate. The Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Bar Council informed me that there was no person with the name Kamini Sharma enrolled as an advocate with them. Thus, I shared the information with Chandigarh Police, who arrested her.”
“She used to engage a local advocate of the district where she planned to appear on behalf of her client. Along with the local advocate, she also used to sign the vakalatnama (affidavit) and start appear in court proceedings. Yesterday also when she was caught, a local advocate was accompanying her. However, on being questioned by police, the advocate expressed complete ignorance about her credentials. The advocate also told police he had no clue that Kamini did not have a valid law degree.”
A case was registered at police station, Sector 3, against Kamini on charges of impersonation and cheating. She was arrested, produced in district court and sent to judicial custody.