The Bar Council of India has imposed a three-year moratorium on starting new law schools in the country. This means that no new law school can open in the country for the next three years. This decision was taken in a council meeting on Sunday. The issue was raised by a member of bar council, Mr Ved Prakash Sharma, it was then supported by the rest of the members.
The council has also requested state governments and universities to stop unfair means and to fill up vacancies of law teachers in all colleges and universities within a period of four months. The Council observed that there are enough number of law schools in the country to produce lawyers sufficient enough to “feed law courts” and “serve people”.
The Bar Council of India is of the opinion that there is no dearth of law graduates in the country and the existing number of law schools are capable of producing the desired number of lawyers. The council is of the opinion that the Universities are hiring teachers without proper credentials, the students are using unfair means in the exams and passing. The state governments are not stopping these activities, especially in the remote areas of the country.
They also said that the University Grants Commission has failed to provide grants to several law universities. The BCI also said that the LLM and Phd degrees are not under the purview of the council and therefore it is very easy to obtain such degrees. This has degraded the quality of law teachers in the country. It is because of these reasons that the BCI was of the opinion of taking this action back in 2016 but some colleges approached High Courts which then directed BCI to approve the applications.
The BCI has decided not to entertain any new applications and only clear out the pending ones.
What does this mean?
It means that in the next three years, there will be no new law college popping up in the country. It will bring the ever-increasing number of law graduates to a stable pace. The legal field was following the footsteps of the Engineering field with the number of aspirants increasing every year. Due to a shortage of jobs in the industry, a majority turns to either litigation or LPOs. Since litigation early on pays peanuts and LPOs have strict working hours, a big chunk opts for higher study.
The number of LLM seats in the NLUs is less than the LLB seats, therefore a lot of these people turn to private colleges for LLM. With the exams being nowhere near as tough as they are expected to be, colleges basically roll out LLM and Phd degrees. This leads a flock towards colleges as new age teachers in the law colleges. The students taught by these teachers fail to attain the expected understanding of legal concepts, therefore we do not get quality law graduates.
This has diluted the quality of lawyers in our country, in almost every field.
Is this move justified?
The rising number of law graduates who do not meet the employability standards was an alarming situation. Something needed to be done and BCI pursued that issue. This will stop new colleges from popping and will slow things down for now.
However, this is nowhere near the long term solution. To solve the issue of decreasing standard of law graduates, this move is not enough. The existing colleges will continue to roll out the same quality of law graduates every year and the current number is 1500 law colleges with almost 1 lakh law graduates every year.
This move might control the growth of the problem for a few years but the problem has already taken a scary size.
What can be done?
The colleges need to be held accountable for the quality of education that they are imparting to their students. There has to be a close watch on the quality of teachers being employed at each registered law college in the country. The examination of the law colleges needs to test the knowledge of the students and also practical application.
If there is a need to revamp the syllabus, the colleges should do it. There should be more efforts by the Council and the colleges to not only encourage students to be a part of original research but base their grades on it. Every college that registers with the BCI needs to have a robust infrastructure to filter out plagiarised submissions by the students.
Any college that seems to be passing students not capable of getting a job or unfit to be a part of the legal industry needs to be put on immediate review. The Bar Council should ask all the colleges to upload status of the infrastructure that they provide to the students to be made public knowledge, wherein misrepresentation could result in getting reviewed.
The fact is that the BCI has made good regulations for the colleges to follow and occasionally they send teams to review the colleges as well. However, the colleges that are inclined towards minting money and not letting education prosper have developed mechanisms to dodge these safeguards.
The Bar Council of India needs to implement all the rules that it has made in a better way and ensure that they are being followed by the colleges.