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Bar Council looks to shut down "mushrooming" law schools

The Bar Council of India wants to tackle the growth of private legal education providers by closing colleges which do not provide an adequate standard of legal training to budding lawyers.

The Bar Council is set to meet with Law Minister Veerappa Moily to address the perceived problem.

Bar Council chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha (pictured) told Legally India: "We have been witnessing that a large number of law colleges have come up in last few years. They are minting money through these colleges."

He added: "To check on the mushrooming of universities imparting legal education is one of our top priorities.

He explained that within one year, more than 100 law colleges had started up in Rajasthan alone but he expected that a majority could have their licence revoked and be shut down because they can not provide the required minimum level of legal education.

"We have directed most of the university colleges not to take admissions until they take qualified teachers," he said.

Under the 1961 Advocates Act, the Bar Council is responsible for the accreditation of colleges imparting legal education and it has the power to prevent law schools from offering courses if its affiliation is disapproved or revoked by the body.

Sinha said: "We can not blame the government for this but the system itself. [The colleges] get land at concessional rates and then do business. These universities are run like big corporates with an aim to mint money only.

"Very soon we will be meeting with the law minister to discuss this problem."

The Bar Council is also currently trying to introduce an upper age limit for of 20 years for those starting five-year LLB courses and 30 years for three-year LLB courses, with a higher limit of two and five years for students from scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBC).

Cases are currently pending in several High Courts challenging the decision.

Legally India will publish a full interview with Sinha on Monday 29 June 2009.

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