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Bar Council derecognizes Delhi University’s law course

Education NewsNew Delhi: Law graduates who passed out this year from Delhi University (DU) are staring at an uncertain future. In an unprecedented move, Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex regulatory body for law education and the legal profession in India, has decided to derecognize DU’s law course taught at its three centres, namely Campus Law Centre, Law Centre-1 and Law Centre-2. This means students admitted in these centres from 2011-12 onwards won’t be eligible to be enrolled as advocates and can’t practice.

On Monday, BCI announced its decision through a letter sent to the vice chancellor of DU and to all state bar councils, including that of Delhi. “In absence of extension of approval of affiliation of these law centres, the students who were admitted in the sessions 2011-12 onward and passed out from the academic year 2013-14 are not eligible for enrollment as advocates. You are therefore advised to take appropriate action with regard to these law centres and inform BCI about steps taken in this regard immediately,” the BCI letter to DU says.

Sources in BCI said the regulatory body was forced to act after DU failed to respond to its repeated reminders on extension of affiliation beyond the academic year 2010-11. A communication was sent to the three centres in July 2010 for the first time that DU must seek approval and throw open its centres for BCI’s inspection.

“In spite of the said communication the law centres have not applied to the council for extension of approval of affiliation,” BCI has added saying Legal Education Rules 2008 have not been followed by DU, inviting de-recognition. As per the Rules, a law college/law school/institution that has not been inspected for a continuous period of 5 years shall have to apply afresh to the BCI and seek approval of affiliation on or before July 31, 2010. Those colleges which fail to apply lose the right to impart legal degree.

BCI decided to amend the rules to ensure periodic inspection of such centres on student intake, infrastructure, facilities and timings. Confirming they have received instructions from BCI, Bar Council of Delhi secretary Punit Mittal said, “Since DU failed to obtain extension of affiliation from academic year 2011-12 onwards therefore the BCI had passed a resolution directing all state BCs including Delhi that candidates from these law centres are not eligible for enrollment. The same applies to candidates joining the law courses 2011-12 onwards.”

However, Professor Ashwani Kumar Bansal, dean, Faculty of Law in DU, said there is no reason for students to panic. “Today itself I have replied to BCI reminding them that they gave us time till December 31 this year to apply for approval. It is not a big issue. We came into existence in 1924 while BCI was born in 1960s. A few years ago they made certain rules and want us to abide by them. I would like to remind everyone that we lead legal education standards in the country. Around 80 of our alumni are judges in various high courts and four adorn the Supreme Court. Before declaring us invalid, look at our track record. We will resolve the issue amiably, students need not worry at all.” Union minister Arun Jaitley and former minister Kapil Sibal are a few noted alumni of DU’s law courses.

Source: The Economic Times

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