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Outgoing BCI chair Parija says 100 more law schools been shut, young lawyers trained

Ashok Parija: Back to practice
Ashok Parija: Back to practice
Exclusive: The Bar Council of India (BCI) is set to get a new chairman, as current chair Ashok Parija has said that he would not run for a second term in the 16 April elections, as Parija said that the BCI closed 100 colleges since former chairman Gopal Subramanium’s tenure and that it would publish its meeting minutes again.

“I have already lost half my practice,” joked Parija about why he would not be running for re-election and the toll BCI chairmanship had taken on his legal work, which consists primarily of writ petitions in the high courts and some Supreme Court practice.

The internal BCI elections for its new chairman will happen on 16 April, with the newly appointed chairman taking over from him on 18 April, he said.

Parija said that since he took over in July 2011 from former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, as the BCI had closed around 100 law schools.

Under Subramanium’s tenure the BCI had first started derecognising law schools, having recommended 50 law schools for closure out of more than 913, with an aim to ultimately consolidate the number of colleges to 175 within a year.

Subramanium: Former reformer
Subramanium: Former reformer
“There are still about 800 law schools in India,” said Parija about the progress of the initiative, although he was not able to supply a list of all closed colleges to Legally India at the time of going to press.

In response to a question of why the BCI had stopped publishing minutes of its meetings on its website, Parija said: “I’ll have a look at it – if it has not been, we’ll get it done.”

The BCI had also begun holding training sessions for young advocates with under seven years of practice. Sessions were held in three cities, and would continue to be rolled out in places such as Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Bhopal and Ahmedabad.

“There was a lot of interaction between top lawyers of country and the students, which gave them a huge insight into what the profession is and huge exposure,” explained Parija.

Speakers at the work shops on criminal law, mediation, negotiation, judicial review and arbitration included senior advocates Ram Jethmalani, Ashok Desai, KTS Tulsi and KK Venugopal and professors Madhava Menon and Ranbir Singh.

“The next steps the BC is going to do is undertake training programmes for the faculty,” said Parija about the BCI’s future plans in legal education.

The BCI had also entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the law ministry to conduct the Rajiv Gandhi programme where every year in every zone camps for young lawyers would take place, funded by the government of India, giving laptops, a senior and a stipend for five months.

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