Source : Bar and Bench
The Bar Council of India (BCI) told the Supreme Court on Thursday that its decision scrap the one-year LL.M programme and derecognise foreign LL.M will be brought into force only from the academic year 2022-23, a move which came as a relief to law schools and prospective LL.M students across the country. The Court recorded the submissions of BCI Chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra to that effect noting that no interim order would be required in the matter. The Court, therefore, adjourned the matter for 4 weeks while issuing notice to BCI seeking its response in the challenge mounted to the BCI's contentious decision. A Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea by Consortium of National Law Universities (NLU Consortium) and two other individual candidates challenging the decision of the Bar Council of India (BCI) to scrap the one-year LL.M programme and derecognise foreign LL.M. The BCI had recently notified the BCI Legal Education Rules, 2020 (Rules) scrapping the one-year LL.M course. The rules were notified in the official gazette on January 4. It mandated that the post-graduate course in law leading to Master's degree, i.e LL.M has to be of two years spread over four semesters. Senior Counsel Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the NLU Consortium, told the Court that none of the NLUs were consulted by BCI before taking the decision. Admission to LL.M will be through Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) which is conducted by the BCI. Until the PGCETL is introduced the present system followed by respective Universities shall be followed. Once the BCI introduces PGCETL it shall be mandatory to admit the students from the merit list of the Test. It was also submitted that the BCI does not have powers to regulate higher education in the field of Law. That, the plea points out, is the job of University Grants Commission or of an expert body. Thus, the notification is ultra vires its parent Act, i.e. Advocates Act of 1961, it was claimed.