HYDERABAD: Stating that there are enough institutions in all parts of the country to feed law courts and serve the people, the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Monday imposed a three-year moratorium on opening new law colleges in the country. The BCI said that for the next three years it will focus on improving the existing institutions, and those which don’t have proper infrastructure will be shut.
“There is no dearth of advocates and the existing institutions are sufficient to produce the required number of law graduates [...] there is an urgent need to improve the standard of teaching, and in order to achieve that goal, the Council has planned to train the law teachers of the country,” the BCI noted.
BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, in a press release, said the restriction will not apply for any national law university if proposed by any State government, if that State had no varsity before. The BCI, if it decides to open a model institution of legal education, as it did earlier by opening the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, could do so.
It was also resolved at the council meeting on August 11 that the BCI would consider only pending proposals for new institutions, and no fresh applications would be entertained. The reason, it said, was that there are about 1,500 law colleges in India and several don’t have proper infrastructure due to lethargy of the university managements and State governments.
‘There is an acute dearth of good law teachers’
State governments grant ‘no objection certificates’ (NOCs) and universities grant affiliations recklessly, and varsities are unable to stop the use of unfair practices at law examinations in most rural areas, the BCI said, adding that State governments do not show any interest in checking unfair practices.
Besides, due to negligence of the University Grants Commission (UGC), 90 per cent of law colleges do not get grants. Moreover, it is very easy to get LLM and PhD degrees because the HRD ministry and universities are indifferent, it said, adding that as a result, there is an acute dearth of “good law teachers” in the country. LLM and PhD degrees are not under the control of the BCI, and only approval/recognition of LLB degrees is within its domain, it added.
The Council has requested State governments and universities to stop unfair practices and ensure the filling up of all vacancies of law teachers within four months. In 2016, the BCI decided to stop approving new law colleges, and requested the State governments not to grant NOCs to any new law college or university for two years. Universities were requested to stop granting affiliations to new colleges and to improve the standard of the existing institutions.