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The uncertainty over admissions to four of Mumbai’s law colleges may just end in less than two weeks time. On September 13, the Bar Council of India’s Legal Education Committee shall decide on the accreditation of the four colleges including that of the Government Law College in Mumbai.
As per documents accessed by Bar & Bench, the problems with GLC Mumbai can be traced back to the year 2010. That year, the BCI decided to inspect those law colleges that had been established prior to 1979, which were classified as “permanent deemed colleges”.
In 2013, one of the permanent deemed colleges that was inspected was GLC Mumbai. The inspection committee found several shortcomings including the lack of a permanent principal, and a severe shortage of qualified teachers.
To be fair though, these problems have been well-known for a while now. In an interview published four years ago, the then principal-in-charge RB Malik had highlighted the lack of full-time faculty at the college. In another interview, published two years later, GLC’s Prof. Homer Pithawalla was frank enough to admit that GLC’s “standards are going down“.
In November of 2013, the Legal Education Committee had noted that GLC admits a higher number of students than permissible under the Legal Education Rules of 2008, that is a maximum of three hundred students in a particular course.
Three years later, GLC has been asked to submit an affidavit detailing whether these shortcomings have been addressed. This affidavit will be then be placed before the education committee on September 13, and a final decision taken.
The education committee is currently headed by retired Supreme Court judge, AP Mishra, and includes NLSIU vice-chancellor Venkata Rao, NLU Delhi’s Ranbir Singh, and NLU Jodhpur’s founding vice-chancellor, NL Mitra.
But it is not only the infrastructural inadequacies that GLC will have to overcome.
As per the BCI’s documents, a default fine of four lac has to be paid in order to “regularise admissions” from 2011-2013 to 2013-2014. What will happen to the students degrees should GLC fail to do so, is unclear. In addition to the four lac default fine, the college also has to pay nine and a half lac under the heading of inspection fees, as well as a deposit for the 2016-17 academic year.
Thus far, GLC has deposited a total sum of three lac.
As for the other colleges involved, sources in the BCI say that they too have till September 13 to take corrective steps including the hiring, or the planned hiring, of teachers.
And right in the middle of it all, are the potential law students; counselling is yet to begin while the government website does not mention GLC nor the city law colleges as an option.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of India issued notice in PIL on the CET for law. Yesterday, Maharashtra’s Education Minister Vinod Tawde said that GLC would be allowed to conduct admissions this year.
How this will fit into the BCI’s plans, or rather the eventual decision of the BCI’s legal education committee, remains to be seen.