The Bar Council of India expressed its disparity on Centre’s move to introduce the National Commission of Higher Education and Research Bill, on the ground that the proposal is likely to take away its powers in legal education.
The BCI, unanimously decided to oppose tooth and nail the “adventurist and highly condemnable” proposals in the Bill and urged the government to drop it.
As per a resolution, introduction of the Bill would directly affect the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, which has entrusted the BCI with laying down of standards of legal education to be observed by universities and conducting inspection to ensure that the standards laid down for legal education are adhered to. These steps would deprive it of a full say in formulation and implementation of the policies involved at the professional level.
Since 1961, when this power was entrusted to BCI, it had brought about effective changes in the legal education system. A major reform happened when it first introduced the three-year LL.B. in place of the two-year course which enhanced the way of improving quality of the profession. In 1986, the BCI initiated the five-year LL.B. which attracted many intellectuals to the legal profession.
The BCI also pointed out that, since the Commission is overburdened with many responsibilities, it will never be able to contribute substantially to the development of research and especially in the field of Legal Education. Apart from this, the proposed Bill will disturb the delicate balance that exists between the Centre and the States in matters of education. The BCI further added that the Bill impinge on the autonomy of universities which leads to undesirable and unnecessary centralization of power.
Apart from that the BCI pointed out that the legislation by lowering the status of the legal profession is stealthily trying to invite foreign firms to settle down in India, thereby depriving the profession in the country of its legitimate claims.
Contributed by Mr. B. Abraham – Law Student from Siddharth College of Law, Mumbai
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