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In a bid to keep tab on the infrastructure and faculty strength of Indian law schools, the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India is considering conducting surprise inspections.
A recently passed resolution authorises the Chairman of the BCI to set up teams for such inspections. It is recommended that the inspection teams should comprise a former high court judge and a Senior Advocate or an advocate having at least 25 years’ experience of standing practice. The team must also have two professors (one for law and the other for non-law subjects) for institutions offering the five-year programme and one law professor for law colleges with the 3-year programme.
The Chairman is also empowered to set up a sub-committee comprising one or two former high court judges and teachers of national law schools to oversee the functioning of these teams. He is also authorised to “outsource the services of young advocates, interns or other concerned staff for the purpose”.
Explaining the need for these surprise visits, the resolution states,
“The Committee, on many occasions, has noted that at the time of inspection some institutions are able to manage to arrange the fake infrastructure and even the faculties also for the purpose of inspection and to get the recognition of the Council anyhow…
…In many cases, it has been found that the name of one faculty or Principal is shown in more than one institutions.”
The BCI has also recommended that the inspections be done in a covert manner, “so that even the regular staff of the Legal Education Department of the Council might not get the prior information of such inspections”.
It has also resolved that a minimum fine of Rs. 3 lakh be imposed upon the institutions found lacking in infrastructure and those which have furnished false information for getting BCI recognition.
The regulator of the legal profession in India has attempted to play a more proactive role in the sphere of legal education of late. Last month, it rather controversially recommended that one of their members be part of faculty selection committees at law schools. In that same circular, it also floated the idea of imposing a 1:20 student-faculty ratio and considered framing rules with respect to equivalence of law degrees obtained from foreign universities.
Last year, it had proposed wholesale changes to the Advocates Act. Among those was the suggestion that it should be empowered with conducting the Common Law Admission Test.
Read the resolution: