•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

BCI may reconsider fee to be paid by teachers, students in Rs 3+ crore scheme

BCI's Golden age
BCI's Golden age

The Bar Council of India (BCI) said it would reconsider its May resolution making it compulsory for law teachers to pay a recurring fee of Rs 3,000 to the regulator, by possibly decreasing but not completely scrapping this fee.

The regulator stated this in its response to a petition addressed to it by 80 Indian law teachers last month, admitting that the resolution was passed after “procedural error and inadvertence”.

The teachers had petitioned the BCI expressing concern over lack of academic representation in its Legal Education Committee, taking strong exception to the BCI’s statement that academics have a limited role to play in legal education. They also asked the BCI to cancel its 28 May circular prescribing compulsory online-database registration fees for law students, teachers, colleges and advocates.

The teachers particularly noted in their petition that the current representation of only two academics out of 36 total members in the Legal Education Committee was inadequate.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in his reply dated two weeks ago, that the team present in the committee was “well balanced” and consisted of “all persons who are important in contribution of the legal education”.

“For any institution or body, it would be quite impossible to accommodate each and every academician of the country. But, you would find that the Legal Education Committee and Directorate of Bar Council of India are quite rich and well-balanced.”

Mishra also wrote that in addition to three academics on the Legal Education Committee, a Curriculum Development Committee was set up by the Legal Education Committee, and each of its seven members was an academic.

The Legal Education Committee was also supplemented by a Directorate of Legal Education and five noted academics were “included as special invitees” in it.

The teachers had also complained about the BCI’s observation in parliament that lawyers were the best persons to take legal education policy decisions. Mishra wrote that the BCI’s statement was “taken out of context”.

On the issue of registration fees, he replied: “Let me tell you that in passing the resolution or the registration requirement, some procedural error and inadvertence was detected.”

He said that while the Legal Education Committee would consider revision of the fee, it could not “give up” the “idea of web portal” because the BCI on its visits to law colleges had “detected some malpractice adopted by some of the institutions or law teachers”.

One person involved in the campaign speculated that the scheme could generate more than Rs 3 crore for the BCI in the first year. In a press conference in May this year the BCI said there were still over 900 law schools in India.

The campaigner said, assuming there were five law teachers per law schools: “we must take into consideration that in case even five per cent teachers ever change their jobs - which is a very conservative estimate, I'm sure simply in terms of getting better offers such as from Associate Professors to Professors in other law colleges, the actual job changes are considerably more - each of them would have to pay another Rs 1000, which would add another total of Rs. 2.25 lakhs.

“Not to mention that every three years, Rs. 1.35 crore will be added as faculty contribution over and over again. And the entire amount will keep on increasing every year with increase in seats, increase in faculty strength and increase in approving new law colleges and universities.”

The letter was addressed to the teachers through NUJS Kolkata’s chair professor for the human resource development (HRD) ministry Shamnad Basheer. It was also stated that a copy of the letter was being sent to the parliamentary standing committee chairman Oscar Fernandez, law minister Salman Khursheed, and HRD minister Kapil Sibal, and was also being uploaded on the website of the BCI.

The letter was not available on the BCI’s website at the time of going to press.

On Sunday the BCI notified on its website that the legal education committee was inviting suggestions to improve legal education from persons, academics, students, lawyers, organizations, institutions or any authority or individual in or outside the legal profession.

Click to show 1 comment
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.