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UGC’s new rule for mandatory 6-year LLB, 2-year LLM make no sense, says everyone

One-year LLM scrapped in one year?One-year LLM scrapped in one year?

Question marks surround the  5 July University Grants Commission (UGC) notification that appeared to raise a death knell for the new one-year LLM degree and the five-year integrated LLB degree to replace them respectively with a mandatory two-year LLM and an LLB of six years.

The Times of India had reported on Tuesday:

UGC wants universities to extend integrated courses duration: Higher educational institutions offering integrated courses may have to revamp their curriculum and extend the duration of their popular programmes now. The University Grants Commission has laid down new norms on the duration and curriculum of integrated courses, and many programmes being offered now may not fit the bill.

However, only in 2013 India’s two-year LLM degree had been halved in duration to one year, with most national law schools scrapping their two-year LLM offerings and shifting completely to the new LLM degree that was predicted to be more popular and useful to compete with overseas LLMs. Furthermore, India’s 15 national law universities and many other of the well-known law schools provide only the five-year integrated LLM degree program.

The “specification of degrees” notification provided for the minimum mandatory course duration for 129 Indian degrees.

It stated:

“If the Integrated/Dual Degree Programmes intend to offer two separate degrees with an option for an interim exit or lateral entry, the duration of the Integrated/Dual Degree Programme must not be less than the duration equal to the sum total of the prescribed duration of the two degrees that are being combined in the Integrated/Dual Degree Programme […]”


“The academic philosophy/rationale behind offering such integrated Programmes should not be for economizing on course requirements or award of double degrees in a fast track. On the contrary, an integrated approach should involve a vertical or interdisciplinary discourse.”

Legally India has learned that the gazette notification is actually the report of the UGC’s Standing Committee on the Specification of Degrees, headed by Jamia Milia Islamia University Prof Dr Furqan Qamar, which was formed over two years ago. Qamar told Legally India that the committee had submitted its final report around 10 months ago. He added that the nomenclature – the details and specifications - for the law degrees was recommended by his committee before the Prof Madhav Menon headed LLM committee’s recommendations for slashing the 2-year Indian LLM degree to one-year was accepted by the UGC.

Qamar also said that after his committee had made recommendations, a “law-related committee” was formed to separately look into the nomenclature of the LLB and LLM degrees. He said he was not aware if the law-related committee had taken any final decision on the nomenclature yet.

Nalsar Hyderabad vice chancellor Faizan Mustafa told Legally India that when he had heard of such a nomenclature being recommended two years ago, he had written to then Union law minister Kapil Sibal opposing the recommendation. Sibal, said Mustafa, had said that he would look into the matter but he had soon handed over the law ministry to Ashwini Kumar.

Madhava Menon commented: “I think so far as LLM is concerned, either the UGC might have decided to allow both [the one year and the two year LLM degrees], or they should’ve withdrawn [the one-year LLM notification]. Many universities are now running both one-year and two year [LLM] also. One-year [LLM] is intended for a slightly different purpose and [in] two-year [LLM] the objects are different. But I have no idea about the decision of the UGC in this regard.”

“Is it not laughable?” said Mustafa, adding: “Integration of knowledge is the norm. This has been an old UGC rule that when you combine two courses as an incentive you will give [those enrolling] one year concession. Now they cannot go back on this integration of degrees. It may be a problem of some private university but the UGC which deals with public universities as well cannot one fine morning say this. They cannot be changing it without looking into how the one-year LLM will work. It was only last year that the first batch [of one-year LLMs] was graduating. If they want to go back then it should be a reasoned decision. No committee has looked into the failures [of the one-year LLM]. [If they go forward with it] we are going to oppose it. It’ll be an arbitrary decision.”

Mustafa added: “On a different plane, the government of India and the UGC, they don’t see eye to eye on the issue of innovation in terms of courses. On the one hand the [Ministry of Human Resource and Development] says we should launch more and more new and innovative courses, The MHRD says we should have interdisciplinary courses. To have interdisciplinary courses [the universities] have to come up with new nomenclatures. [But by the UGC] restricting the universities’ power to have new and integrated nomenclatures of degrees [it is] impinging on their autonomy and it’s a contradiction in terms.”

UGC chairman Prof Ved Prakash and other UGC members were not reachable for comment since yesterday.

Clarification: Most national law schools’ current five-year LLBs are unlikely to be caught by the new rule because they don’t permit “lateral entry” or “interim exit”

UGC Specification of Degrees July 2014

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Like +19 Object -8 Guest 31 Jul 14, 17:56  interesting  controversial
I think, LL.B should be made a 4 year duration course in the lines of B.E/Engineering and LL.M could be of two years at par with any other post graduate studies.

I believe in most of the foreign universities LL.B is not of 5 years duration course, therefore the course should be integrated into 4 years.

It can be done by reducing the non-law papers and integrating them with law papers in the first year. That makes more sense, law student should study sociology of law instead of typical sociology, similarly law student should study economic analysis of law than the pure economics, further papers such as history and political science shall also be equally made more law concerned and oriented, that would not only make law course more oriented, reformed
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Like +16 Object -5 Ganjiwale 01 Aug 14, 16:49  interesting  controversial
After 5 years we have become such great lawyers can you imagine how brilliant we will become after 6???
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Like +27 Object -6 Mis-reporting? 31 Jul 14, 18:51  interesting  top rated  controversial
I think there is some mis-reporting about the 6-year LLB in this article:

The 6-year LLB rule will apply only to Integrated Dual Degree Programmes which offer an interim exit/lateral entry during the course period. However this does not apply to courses where there is no possibility of such an entry/exit. So, clearly this doesn't apply to all NLUs and other private law schools as they do not permit interim exit/lateral entry.
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Like +18 Object -4 pi 31 Jul 14, 19:05  interesting  top rated
the ugc should make up its mind, they are behaving like one of the nlus vcs
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Like +21 Object -30 Guest 31 Jul 14, 20:24  controversial
The 5 year, so-called integrated double-degree courses are actually a sweetener with commercial motives. A BA in the BA.BL or a in the BL courses cannot match the quality of regular stand-alone BA and B.Com degree courses. It is used a short cut. The UGC notification levels the playing field and puts paid to the commercial greed behind the so-called integrated courses. The one-year LLM is also a bad move and what can they specialize in just one year? Let us call a spade a spade. Some people are in a hurry to become post-graduates in a year. A two-year LLM is the sane route to specialization. An extensive and in-depth study and a dissertation , all in one year? Lets get serious and not ape the american model.

Dr.Ravindran Pranatharthy
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Like +7 Object -2 Hoodibaba 01 Aug 14, 07:38  interesting
How is time the factor to ensure specialization ? Many reputed universities have a 1 year LLM where they have a good standard of specialization, contrasted with two year LLMs in many of the universities in India which just waste the students time by having a 2 year LLM with no value addition of the second year.

It all depends on the standard of education 1 year or two years doesnot make a difference. Specialization also does not mean covering more material, it is more to do with more indepth study.
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Like +2 Object -0 Wtf 01 Aug 14, 00:06
There's something seriously wrong with our education system. Especially with this one and the hullabaloo going on in Delhi university..
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Like +16 Object -3 Midas 01 Aug 14, 02:29  interesting  top rated

Your headline is grossly misleading. You have not read the language of the UGC notification and neither apparently has Faizan Mustafa.

It is very clearly mentioned that dual degree/integrated degree requirement for being equal to sum total of the two degrees is applicable only where there is lateral option to exit / enter as for eg in Symbiosis Law. In the NLUs there is no such option so they are entitled to reduce the course by 20% of 6 years or 1.2 years. The present 5 year course is therefore without issues.

Suggest you change your headline and avoid spreading misinformation especially among parents of newly admitted students
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Like +2 Object -0 Bruh 04 Aug 14, 23:30
There is no lateral option to exit or enter in Symbiosis. Suggest you check your facts before you post to avoid spreading misinformation.
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Like +1 Object -0 ajeya 01 Aug 14, 14:59
the six years is applicable if there is an option of early exit with a degree or lateral entry to get the same degree. I don't think any of the NLU's have this option.
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Like +4 Object -5 Dr. K. K. Shahi 02 Aug 14, 10:00
The LL.M. degree is normally meant for an advance law programme to train the future legal academicians.It must be compulsory two years duration so that the students get enough time to equip themselves with the legal principles and philosophy needed to guide the legal profession in order to reach to the goal of real (not symbolic) justice.
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Like +5 Object -1 Advocate 02 Aug 14, 16:29
what happens to the fate of the graduates of 1 year LLM? Without proper deliberation amongst its officials it was'nt necessary to introduce 1 year LLM to woo Indians and make them study in the country and later scrap the same. The UGC is'nt cautious enough to shape the future of this country.
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Like +0 Object -3 Capt. Anti-Panic 03 Aug 14, 03:47
Hello, I don't really care for what ought to be the ideal duration. Instead I simply wish to clear the air.

I am Currently in the 1 year Masters and I suppose 3 points need to be kept in mind.

Firstly, The Guiding Principle at Page 2993 [Point c] Clearly mentions that programs without the Lateral Exit/Entry option can relax the duration by 20%. Consequently, the integrated LLB Program will not get affected.

Secondly, Point 18 of the general instructions states that enrollment prior to the notification will remain valid and therefore, (or so i Hope) the NLU's which have already started the course are secure.

Lastly, I wonder whether the term "enrollment" would mean simply completing the admission process and getting on roll for the course? If so then those NLU's and universities which will start their courses post the notification shall also remain unaffected.
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Like +0 Object -2 Guest 03 Aug 14, 19:46
So that means us National Law Schools LL.M. students are the only ones most affected.
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Like +3 Object -0 Guest 04 Aug 14, 10:34
Better to scrap the LL.M. programme altogether. No college worth its name seems to recruit Indian LL.M.s anymore!
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Like +1 Object -0 Interesting 04 Aug 14, 11:02
There doesn't seem to be much of a problem here. Contrary to what the LI article claims, UGC guidelines seem to provide for a possibility of an innovation.

NLUs may think of an innovative, integrated LLM, BA, LLB program for a total duration of five and three-quarters years as 20% relaxation from the total of 7 years will be possible.
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Like +1 Object -1 Anonymous 04 Aug 14, 14:25
B.A. = 3 years
LL.B. = 3 years
LL.M. = 2 Years
Total = 8 years
80% = 6 years and 4 to 5 Months
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Like +6 Object -2 Black & White 04 Aug 14, 12:43
Why don't we just follow the UK model? A 3 year LL.B right after school followed by 2 years of pupilage or training with a firm. This would actually make our students better advocates and would also help them secure jobs. The ICAI does this. Also minimum standards of pay during the article ship should also be there. In the long run this makes sense.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 07 Aug 14, 11:00
Please refer to UGC Clarification dated 5th August, 2014 in this regard available on UGC website under Notice Sl.No.5. One Year LLM is valid. Prachi and Kian, kindly publicize the same.
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