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BCI to raise big law school inspection fee to Rs 3 lakh as regulator to seek government funding

The Bar Council of India (BCI) plans to double the inspection fee for national law universities and law schools in metropolitan cities to Rs 3 lakh, while keeping the amount constant at Rs 1.5 lakh for other law schools.

The proposal, which has not yet been made before the BCI’s legal education committee, will likely come into effect sometime next year, said BCI vice chairman and senior advocate SL Gowda.

Gowda told Legally India that the BCI was currently lobbying for budgetary allocation of funds from the government – something which was currently missing in the union budget. He said that the regulator has met prime minister Narendra Modi and union law minister DV Sadananda Gowda in this regard.

“We only have one fund filled through [advocates’] enrolment fee, bar exam, inspection of the law schools - that is also if we go there,” said Gowda.

Inspection regime

He said that currently there are around 1,200 law schools in India with 19 BCI members regularly going for their inspection. Law schools offering three year and five year courses become due for inspection, respectively, every three and five years.

An inspection team consists of five members: Two BCI members, two members from the bar council of the state in which the law schools to be inspected are situated and one academician from the legal education committee.

Gowda said that the BCI bears travel expenses, including flight fare and taxi fare; a “dearness allowance”, which includes a day’s stay at a hotel; and a fee of Rs 5000 per day per member of the inspection committee.

A law school to date pays Rs 1.5 lakh per LLB course offered, and on an average the inspection committee conducts inspections of three or four law schools in a day – with roughly three hours spent at each law school.

“So what we do is, I’ll try to call some neighbour[ing state BCI member] for less burden on the BCI. Travelling from Delhi to Bangalore costs more than Rs 20,000; Kerala to Bangalore costs only Rs 3,000. Like that we manage,” explained Gowda.

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