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BCI: 5,000 students won’t be harmed in law school closures; List still not announced

Students would get to complete law degrees they enrolled in at derecognised law colleges or transfer to other institutes, promised the Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Gopal Subramanium.

“BCI will ensure that students once enrolled in law courses get to complete their education. If need be, we will ask concerned universities to adjust students in other recognised institutes,” Subramanium told the Hindustan Times, adding that around 5,000 students “appeared” to be studying at the 50 colleges on the BCI’s radar.

The BCI’s education committee was headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice A.P. Misra, said the Hindustan Times, who is leading the review of the country’s 900 law colleges. Contrasting slightly with the solicitor general’s statement, he reportedly told the paper that institutions found unfit to run three-year and five-year courses, would be allowed to complete the degrees of existing students.

The Hindustan Times and the Times of India reported today that the BCI had derecognised 30 law colleges and issued show-cause notices to 20 other law schools to improve.

Legally India first reported last week that the BCI had decided to reject the applications of 50 law colleges at its two previous meetings, which would result in their closure, although the BCI’s chairman aims to reduce the eventual number from more than 900 to less than 200.

The BCI has not yet published the full list of colleges that will be derecognised or the minutes of its meetings, despite having intended to do so this week, according to two BCI sources.

However, the Hindustan Times reported that Maharashtra and Karnataka each faced the closure of 10 colleges each, followed by three in Andhra Pradesh, two in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

The BCI had also promised to publish the new draft lawyers ethics rules on its website three weeks ago, which has not yet happened.

The BCI did not reply to calls or emails at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile the deadline by which the BCI must have received all India bar exam application forms from 2010 graduates wishing to practice law exam is 30 September, with the exam being scheduled for 5 December. The BCI has now made available an online application form to the bar exam on its website.

The Supreme Court will only hold the first hearing in the cases challening the bar exam on 20 October.

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