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DU Law Faculty’s struggle for BCI nod goes on 15 months on

Adversity never ends
Adversity never ends
Delhi University’s (DU) Faculty of Law is still not in the clear 15 months after the Bar Council of India (BCI) first threatened to permanently de-affiliate the 92-year-old establishment for inadequate infrastructure.

The BCI’s Legal Education Committee (LEC), in its 17 December letter to DU’s vice chancellor, has once again asked the Faculty of Law to promise in writing, that it will comply with the BCI’s infrastructure recommendations within four weeks, or suffer disaffiliation for two academic years.

The LEC was considering an adverse inspection report on DU filed in the BCI, which stated that the Faculty of Law had insufficient number of classrooms – 20 instead of 100 for 5895 students – had increased annual student intake by 54 per cent instead of the permitted 27 per cent, was only functioning on ad hoc faculty and no permanent faculty for the last 15 years, among other deficiencies.

The BCI noted in its letter:

“The record discloses that by and large deficiencies which were pointed out by the earlier inspection Committee remain unattended.”

New building

In addition to the construction of the new law campus building, conditioned on which the BCI had temporarily granted DU affiliation up to the batch of students graduating in 2015, DU also began constructing an additional floor in one of its old buildings. This floor was unauthorised.

The BCI had approved DU to shift all its three law colleges to one new building, which was authorised and almost at its completion. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) passed a 29 December order to stop the construction of the illegal floor in the old building. The MCD ordered Maurice Nagar Police Station to:

“get the construction activities immediately stopped at this site and to remove the labour and material from the site as and when the building activities are noticed.”

The BCI in its 17 December letter had already noted:

“One of the main deficiency pointed out by the Committee was about the accommodation. University in order to overcome this, a new building in the proximity of the law faculty was constructed and obviously with a view to shift all the three centres there in.

The Committee proceeded to Delhi University’s campus and after inspection found that the new building was shown within the campus that the civil work thereof are completed by and large but this is totally incomplete as regard furniture.”

Campus Law Centre student Tarun Narang, who had filed a public interest litigation against DU for inadequate infrastructure, commented: “The BCI favoured my contentions in the PIL and held in inspection report that the present centres and new building both lack adequate infrastructure. Now its high time for DU to wake up and follow all the recommendations of the BCI so that Faculty of Law will get affiliation and thousands of students whose future is at stake will not suffer due to mismanagement of DU authorities.”

Narang said that the illegal construction of the additional floor in the old Law Centre – I building, was unexplained since the plan approved by the BCI was to shift all three of DU’s law colleges to the single new campus building.

Faculty of Law dean Ashwini Bansal was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

The BCI had released its first report highlighting DU’s inadequacies almost one year ago, and asked the university to show cause why it should not be stripped of its accreditation.

Dean Ashwini Bansal initially railed against the BCI’s approach, calling its members ‘jokers’, but the university eventually, in the next two months, set up an execution committee to follow the BCI’s infrastructure recommendations, and even sought the regulator’s approval for its new campus building.

The university then proceeded to even advertise 150 faculty vacancies, but simultaneously stated that it had no timeline for filling up those vacancies.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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