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Delhi High Court orders BCI to conduct surprise inspections of law colleges

A Special team of experts will be appointed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) as per the order of Delhi High Court, which will observe and will conduct surprise visits to colleges which lack infrastructure and facilities of teaching. According to Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, BCI must post these inspection results on its website within a month and close any colleges that don’t have the bare minimum of infrastructure requirements.

The judge bemoaned the “commercialization of education,” adding that these measures should be implemented to “heal the illnesses that legal education is suffering from” and that it was amazing that the stakeholders in legal education such as the professors, senior advocates and Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court could accept such a condition.

Justice Singh was handling a number of petitions asking the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIU) to assign 110 seats for the BA LLB Five Years’ Integrated Course to the Ideal Institute of Management & Technology, one of its affiliated colleges, for the academic sessions 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23.

The JAC suggested 85 seats in its report for the academic year 2019–20. The entire built-up space, excluding the basement, that is available for performing the relevant programme, according to the JAC report, is 3267.45 square meters.

The court stipulated that BCI governed legal education and issued the following directives: “It is mandated that the BCI form specialized expert teams to perform unexpected visits to colleges lacking basic infrastructure and amenities. Within one month of the inspection, the report of the same shall be uploaded on the website of BCI. The BCI shall take prompt action to close any institutions that are found to be lacking in the bare minimum of infrastructure amenities after such an assessment.”

The court argued that the relevant BCI Rules itself require that any institution providing legal education adhere to the basic levels of infrastructure and held that upgrading the current infrastructure in colleges is crucial before adding more students.

The court determined that the state of legal education, notably the state of the infrastructure, is extremely concerning. There are some law schools that might not have enough professors, classrooms, libraries, etc. It is sad that this Court must mention that there are law schools where all have to do is show up and pay the fees; everything else is taken care of.

How a legal profession or we as stakeholders in legal education can allow this kind of environment is remarkable. The Bar Council of India has been given a huge responsibility in closing down these organizations.

“Another blight on the industry in India is the commercialization of education. Enrolling additional students in each new batch while maintaining the current infrastructure is one example of profiting in this honourable profession “It stated.

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra
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