September 27, 2014 1:35:05 am
Flexing its authority over legal education in the country, the Bar Council of India (BCI) in a recent notification revoked the affiliation of the prestigious Faculty of Law, Delhi University. It also sent a letter to all state Bar Councils that the recently graduated batch from the Faculty of Law are not eligible for enrolment as lawyers.
Statutory provisions under the Advocates Act state that advocates need to be enrolled by the Bar Councils if they wish to practice in courts or give legal advice.
As a result, students who graduated in July this year will not be able to start practising in courts.
“We are bound by the BCI decision. The enrolment process of students from the Faculty this year will be stopped,” Bar Council of Delhi chairman K K Manan said.
In a notice to the DU Vice-Chancellor on September 3, the BCI had said the university had not filed an application for affiliation and inspection by the BCI, which is mandatory under a BCI notification of 2008. The Legal Education Rules of 2008 state that all centres of legal education will have to conform to the rules and it was decided that a law college/school/institution, which has not been inspected for over five years, shall have to apply afresh to the BCI for approval of affiliation.
The BCI also alleged that DU had admitted more students than the prescribed limits and that it had received numerous complaints about lack of infrastructure and faculty in the three law centres run by the Faculty of law.
“Before 2008, there were 238 deemed law colleges in the country which had been given permanent affiliation. But then it was decided that colleges will have to conform to the Legal Education Rules, 2008. Letters were sent to all 238 colleges in 2010-11. Of these colleges, 132 have already applied for affiliation and are following the rules,” BCI Chairman Biri Singh Sinsinwar said.
DU’s Law faculty has not yet applied for any inspections or affiliation.
Some of the recently graduated lawyers have already completed the enrolment process and started practising law. Advocate Manan said the enrolment of the new advocates may be suspended.
“The students may approach the Delhi High Court against the decision and if the court sets aside the decision, we will enrol them,” advocate Manan said.
Sources at the BCI said the standing committee on Legal Edcuation, which is a statutory committee, is scheduled to hold a meeting on Saturday to look into the issue.
The Faculty of Law Dean Professor Ashwini Kumar Bansal said, “We received a letter on September 3, which stated that we have time until December 31, 2014, to file an application for inspection and the students of the batch of 2014-15 will not be eligible otherwise. But a second letter was sent on September 22, saying students of the 2013-14 batch are not eligible,” he said, adding that the university has written to the BCI for clarification.
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