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Report No. 184

8.4 Inspection.-

As per section 7(1)(i) of the Act, the Bar Council of India may visit and inspect those universities whose degree in law may be recognized for the purpose of enrolment of law graduates as lawyers. Bar Council of India may also direct the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect universities. As per section 6(1)(gg), the State Bar Councils may also visit and inspect universities in accordance with the directions of the Bar Council of India. Further, rule 8 of Section A of Part IV of the Bar Council of India Rules refers to 'Inspection'. Recently, new formats have been prepared for inspection, responses, Reports and for further responses to the Report. Procedure for recommending disaffiliation for the University on the basis of the Reports, is also indicated.

8.5 No doubt, inspections are necessary. Quite a good number of inspections have yielded good results and in fact, some of the colleges which were bad have been weeded out after inspection. But still, the inspection process has to be revamped.

On the other hand, some colleges complain that though they have complied with all the requirements needed for affiliation still, they are not granted permanent affiliation but are given affiliation only for one year and that there are inspections every year and in some cases, more than once in an year, and each time the managements are asked to deposit a minimum of Rs.50,000/- as inspection fee to enable the Committee Members to inspect. There are also complaints that the expenditure for the inspection team is becoming very expensive, particularly if the inspection team stays in costly hotels. It is for the Legal Education Committee to take note of these complaints and rectify them.

8.6 There are again complaints that some inspections are cursory and colleges which are badly run are given clean chit while colleges which are running well and whose students have consistently obtained first ranks in the University or whose students have consistently been selected by reputed universities in UK and USA for post graduate studies, are disaffiliated.

8.7 There are indeed several court cases filed by managements against the Bar Council of India and while no doubt some have been dismissed, some have been allowed with critical observations against the manner in which inspections were conducted or disaffiliation proposed. The law reports of the High Courts are evidence to these facts.

8.8 We agree that in the matter of inspection of a large number of colleges, there are bound to be some complaints or even litigation. What we, however, mean to say is that the Bar Council of India must take extreme care while granting permission and while conducting inspections.

8.9 When, under the Rules, lawful directives of the Bar Council have to be obeyed by the Universities and the Law Schools, which if not obeyed, may lead to penal action, the procedure in the matter of inspections must be streamlined. While there is need to be tough with colleges which do not conform to the required standards, care must be taken to see that good colleges do not suffer on account of bad inspections. The Bar Council of 81 India, when it wields powers, is also accountable like any other public body.

8.10 The procedure for inspection, therefore, requires a thorough overhaul. Periodically, we can introspect, take stock and review and evolve procedures which will either eliminate mistakes of the past or which can lead to better inspections so as to avoid public criticism. After all, our goal is the same, to see that good law schools are established and proper quality of legal education is imparted to the students.

8.11 Again, there are inspections by more than one body. Now, there are inspections by the UGC or by the University authorities under various statutes of the Universities and there are also inspections by the Bar Council of India. There was similar duplication in regard to inspections under the AICTE Act where, in respect of Engineering Colleges, there were inspections by the Universities or UGC as well as by those deputed by the AICTE. Similar was the situation with respect to inspections of medical colleges. There also, there are more than one inspections, some by the universities and some by the Medical Council of India. Multiple inspections normally give rise to conflicting reports.

8.12 When conflicts between these reports arise, managements are dissatisfied with one or the other inspection. The Supreme Court has had occasion to deal with the question of inspections in several cases in Engineering and Medical colleges. In particular, we would refer to the judgment in Jaya Gokul Educational Trust v. Commissioner & Secy. to Government: 2000(5) SCC 231. In that case, there were conflicting reports 82 and the Court had occasion to refer to the Regulations framed by the AICTE Act which gave some solutions. The AICTE has powers similar to the Bar Council of India. Regulation 8(4) provides that at the stage of initial grant of approval, the Bureau of the Council seeks comments/recommendations of

(i) the State Government concerned,

(ii) the affiliating University apart from the regional bodies of the AICTE.

Regulation 8(5) requires the Regional Office to arrange visits by an expert committee constituted by the AICTE which will put forward its recommendations before the AICTE. Reg. 8(8) states that if there is disagreement between the recommendations made by the State Government, University or the Regional Office of the AICTE, then the Central Task Force shall invite representatives of the respective agencies for further consultations before making recommendations.

On the recommendations of the Central Task Force, the AICTE will take a final decision. Regulation 8(10) states that the decision of the AICTE shall be communicated to the State Government concerned or the UGC, as the case may be, and to the University concerned before the 30th of April of the next year where the applications for starting an institution are made before the 31st December of the previous year. The Task Force would also consist of a member of the Subordinate Judiciary, at the level of a District & Sessions Judge.

We recommend that the Inspection Rules framed by the Bar Council of India be also amended providing that among the members of the Inspection Committee, at least one academician from a different State other than the 83 one where the college is proposed to be established or is already established, must be included.

We also recommend that separate provisions be incorporated in the Advocates Act, 1961 for providing that in case of any conflict in the inspection reports of the Bar Council of India and of the UGC/Universities or where there is a big gap between the claims of the management and the Inspection Committee, a Task Force should make inspection on the same lines as in the Regulations of the AICTE in which a Judicial Officer would be a member.

These recommendations should not be considered by the Bar Council of India as diluting the authority of its inspection committees, but as one intended to prevent complaints in regard to the inspection process and in fact, such a procedure is now followed in respect of Engineering Colleges by the AICTE. The inspections by the Committees of the Bar Council of India must be open and transparent and principles of fairness and natural justice must be strictly followed.

A complaint against an inspection should not be viewed as a dispute between adversaries but as a fact-finding mission consistent with principles of natural justice. In fact, if the findings of the Task Force confirm the findings of the Bar Council of India's inspection committees, it would only enhance the strength of the findings of the Inspection Committee of the Bar Council of India.

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