Intricacies in Regulating Higher Legal Education and Research in India: A Critical Appraisal of the Legal Education Rules 2020

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Dr. Dhanaji Jadhav, Dr. Atmaram Shelke


Legal profession is considered to be one of the noble professions of the society. The nobility of any profession sprang from its foundation of education. The standards of legal profession in India are controlled by the Bar Council of India which is an elected body of Lawyers. The Advocates Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred as Act,1961) is the foundation on the basis of which the BCI claimed its authority to control and supervise the legal profession. This Act empowers BCI with various responsibilities coupled with the power to look into election of Bar Councils, matters of disciplinary actions and issues of determining the validity of degree for enrollment. It is through section 7 (1) (h), of the Act, 1961, BCI is controls the standard of the legal profession and legal education up to graduate level through BCI Rules, 2008. Recently Bar council of India has notified new rules titled as “Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical, and other Continuing Education) Rules, 2020", hereinafter referred as Legal Education Rules, 2020.

Through Legal Education Rules 2020, the BCI is stepping in Post-Graduation Education and Research in Law. This has raised eyebrows of legal academicians in India and is criticized as an autocracy of the BCI without locus. This notification has been challenged before the Supreme Court of India by students and a consortium of National Law Universities in India.

The present article is a sincere attempt to evaluate impartially the instant notification and examine the competence, expertise, and locus of BCI stepping into Post-Graduate and Research in Law. Through instant notification, the BCI is virtually attempting to become the sole authority to regulate Post-Graduate and Research in Law in the country. Surprisingly, the BCI has scraped the One Year LL.M program and introduced the Two Year LL..M Program without consultation and thereby usurped the powers of other competent authorities in the field. The authors have substantiated the arguments by highlighting the Legal, Constitutional and Procedural irregularities in the Legal Education Rules, 2020. In addition to the appraisal of this notification authors also have tried to correlate how this attempt of BCI to re-introduce Two Year LL.M Programme in India is contrary to the global standards of legal education.

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