The Madras High Court on Wednesday was prompted to muse on the significance of prescribing the content of law subjects in law courses permitted by the Bar Council of India (BCI), given that the legal education imparted may otherwise be incomplete (B Ramkumar Adityan v. Secretary and ors)..A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a petition challenging the validity of certain courses in law offered by the Annamalai University when it posed queries over how the BCI prescribes the curriculum to be imparted in law universities. .In this regard, Chief Justice Banerjee observed that while the BCI has the authority to do so under Section 7 (1) (h) of the Advocates' Act, it appears to have not exercised the said power. He, however, added that the BCI controls this aspect at the time of deciding whether to recognize a particular university..The BCI's counsel responded that there is a curriculum development committee that charts out the curriculum with the university in question.."Do you also indicate what are the reading material for the courses? We have only found one book on ethics. But there are many things," the Chief Justice asked, in turn..The discussion also led Chief Justice Banerjee to recount how law students in Kolkata used to rely on abridged reading material back in his day."When we used to do law, there used to be something in Calcutta called Navbharat. It was popular only because the pages could be torn and carried on person. A book running into 40-50 pages would cover the entire subject. All of them looked the same, yellow cover, and they were used only for that purpose, purchased, immediately torn.".He went on to explain why it helps to lay down the reading material for subjects, rather than confine to mentioning only the broader subject itself as part of the curriculum.."It is good to say 'contract'. But if you set the standards, only “contract” won’t do… it has to be something more. The law of contract is not just the Contract Act. The Contract Act is part of the contract law.. the law of specific relief cannot even be codified. The 1963 Act says 'some instances.' We are probably enlarging the scope of the lis. At the end of the day, what AG says is right, we cannot stop it because it has a disclaimer.".With this, the Court's discussion returned to the main subject of dispute, i.e. whether the challenged law courses at Annamalai University should be stopped or not. .Appearing for the University, Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram informed the Court that a disclaimer has been issued by the University that the said law courses would not entitle the diploma holder to enrol or practice as an advocate. .He argued that since these law courses are only being imparted for the purpose of furthering one's knowledge, the BCI's approval is not required. .The Court, however, expressed reservations as to whether the disclaimer referred to has been prominently intimated to prospective students. ."After all you are a State-owned university. You are not a fly by night operator. There you ought to have a different image, role at the very least, your disclaimer appears to be very misleading. It is like the previous statuary warning is or the red herring prospectus is sped up so you would not hear ... Your disclaimer appears to be fine print, lost in the literature, has to be much more prominent so people are not misled... When you have a recognised university, you may have some latitude… but the very least advertise in properly," the Chief Justice remarked. .To explain, Chief Justice Banerjee also briefly adverted to the evolution of health disclaimers on cigarette packets, which were earlier less prominent. "Today the cigarette packet has to indicate … you open a packet and you find a decapitated lung or something staring at you. Smokers generally don't look at the packet when they open it," he observed. .Another argument raised by AG Shunmugasundaram was that there was no BCI rule prohibiting the dissemination of such long distance legal education courses. ."Just because they have not prescribed anything for distance learning, does not mean you can undertake anything for distance learning," the Chief Justice observed, in turn..Further, the Court was also informed by the Advocate General that there are 32 universities in India imparting distance law education. Taking note of the submission, the Court remarked, "At the very least, the Bar Council should react to this. If you are the watchdog, at the very least, you have to react to it.".The BCI counsel, in response, pointed out that the University Grant Commission's affidavit in the matter itself refers to a BCI communication stating that no authorization should be granted for a distance education course in law..The hearing in the matter will continue on August 6. .The Advocate General is expected to continue his submissions. "Both the Bar Council and the UGC say that the course is without authority and must be shut down," the Chief Justice observed as the hearing drew to a close today. ."I will answer next Friday," Advocate General Shunmugasundaram assured..The case concerns the award of the LLB (General) and LLB (Academic) courses by the Director, Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai University. The petitioner has challenged the same as not being authorised by the BCI. The Court recorded the BCI's submission that it has not recognised the said course and that without recognition, no legal education course can be imparted nor any legal degree awarded entitling the degree-holder to practice in India..The Annamalai University, on the other hand, has told the Court that it has the right to impart distance education purely for educational purposes and not for purpose of entitlement to enrol as a lawyer. The University argued that it has obtained such a right from the University Grants Commission, prompting the Court to direct the UGC as well to reply in the matter.