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Bill Proposed for creating 16 New National Law Schools

The government plans to set up 16 new National Law Schools so that each state has an institute of excellence in legal education. The draft National Law School Bill, 2010, finalized by the law ministry, provides for establishment of national law schools in all the states. There are only 12 such institutes at present.

"The central government shall assist every state, not having national law schools, to develop, establish and independently run these schools of excellence in the field of legal education and research in their respective states," says the draft legislation.

There are around 900 recognized institutes, including 12 national law schools and 145 departments of law, in various universities providing legal education. According to official figures, 5 lakh students are studying law in these institutes, out of whom 60,000 join the legal profession every year.

A top law ministry official said the idea behind setting up a national law school in every state was to "have world-class legal education in a bid to prepare professionals equipped to meet the new challenges and dimensions of the profession".

The draft bill provides for a "one-time grant by the Centre and a sharing arrangement of money with the states, as it may think fit for the development and establishment of schools".

The ministry has also proposed that the state governments provide grants every year to these schools. Section 25 of the draft bill gives powers to the state governments to decide whether public-private partnerships would be required.

"The PPP shall draw a partnership agreement defining mutual responsibilities, reciprocity of benefit, accounting and reporting," states the bill. The funds provided by state governments for acquisition of land will be considered part of its share towards the overall cost of setting up of schools.

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