THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s decision to terminate the three-year LLB (Evening) course conducted in self-financing mode by the Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, at a time when a similar course is being offered in a private self-financing college in the capital, has raised eyebrows. The Higher Education Department issued the order terminating the course on the basis of a directive from the Bar Council of India (BCI) to the college authorities. The BCI said it will be compelled to take ‘strict and extreme measures’ unless the course is terminated with immediate effect from 2021-22.
The LLB (Evening) programme, approved by the University of Kerala, was started in 2014-15 with an intake of 60 students on the condition that BCI approval be obtained in due course. After carrying out an inspection in the college in 2020, the BCI said the evening course was not permitted under Legal Education Rules, 2008. The BCI also clarified that the State Bar Council would not entertain applications for enrolment from students who passed out from the course.
“A decision to continue the three-year LLB (Evening) programme will adversely affect the conduct of other courses in the colleges,” Additional Chief Secretary (Higher Education) V Venu noted in the order. Even though no fresh admissions to the course will be permitted, the decision will not affect students who are already enrolled.
Law College authorities dismissed reports that the course was terminated for academic reasons. “The rules prescribe at least five hours of classes every day and 30 hours a week. To meet this criteria, classes were conducted on Saturdays as well,” said a faculty of the college requesting anonymity.
However, a private self-financing law college in the capital has been conducting the course in a similar manner for several years without objection from BCI. There are also reports that enrolment with the bar council is allowed for those who qualify the LLB (evening) course from the institution. Many in the legal fraternity have termed it as a clear instance of double standards. “A petition against such double standards is under the consideration of the High Court. When the matter is sub-judice, what was the government’s hurry in issuing such an order,” asked Syam Devaraj, alumnus of Govt Law College.