Bar Council of India’s decision to scrap one-year LLM degree challenged in SC

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) recent decision to scrap one-year LLM degree, which also partially derecognizes the LLM degree from foreign universities.

The petition has been filed by a law student, Tamanna Chandan Chachlani through advocate-on-record Rahul Shyam Bhandari calling the BCI’s decision vague, discriminatory and irrational. It will affect the future career and the choice to select quality education, the plea further added. 

On January 4, the BCI has notified the Bar Council legal education (Post graduate, clinical, doctoral, executive, vocational and other continuing education) rules 2020. The rules scrapped the one year LLM course and partially de recognized a foreign degree. 

It made 2 years LLM course, a post-graduation leading to a master’s degree, compulsory.  The rules stated that LLM degree from foreign universities will be recognized only if it is done after obtaining the LLB degree from recognized university in India. 

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Calling the notification ultra vires its parent act i.e., Advocate Act of 1961, the plea stated that the BCI has no  power to regulate  higher education in law courses  and rather it is  the job of  University Grants Commission or an expert body. 

The BCI also mentioned that the entrance to the LLM through the Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) to be conducted by the Bar council. And until the same is introduced, the admissions will be through the exam conducted by the respective institutions.

Moreover, it enlisted various new eligibility conditions to be satisfied by the institutions to offer LLM course.  The student-teacher ratio of 1:10 and the maximum strength of 20 in each specialized course and 50 in overall LLM program are few guidelines mentioned. 

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