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Buy an LLB degree for Rs 2.1 lakh, agent promises in TV sting operation

CNN News 18 sting: Law degrees for sale
CNN News 18 sting: Law degrees for sale

According to a CNN News 18 sting operation just aired, undergraduate law degrees (amongst other subject) are available for sale by agents for the princely sum of Rs 2.1 lakh (even less than the recently revised Rs 2.3 lakh fee NLSIU Bangalore students have to pay for a single year of study).

According to the sting operation by the TV channel with an allegedly unscrupulous agent, a “university in Uttar Pradesh” had offered both three- and five-year LLBs to an undercover reporter, including fudged attendance records.

Reporter Chaitanya Mangure told the studio anchor: “I was told that a law degree is possible from a university in Uttar Pradesh, but the person needs to clear the exam of the Bar Council; but the first three years of law will be cleared.”

Both fake five-year BA LLB and three-year LLB degrees were promised to be obtainable by the agents, the reporter added, without having to attend any classes. Attendance and exam records would be backdated and fudged, the agent claimed.

The sting operation also revealed engineering degrees being up for sale for only Rs 75,000 from a university in Arunachal Pradesh; BTech degrees were also reportedly available, even potentially backdated by several years.

Providing that the agent was not simply over-promising results they could not deliver, the three main take-aways for the legal profession:

  1. the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) All India Bar Exam (AIBE), despite being controversial and rather opaquely conducted, appears to have at least made it a little bit more difficult for anyone with fake law degree to practice law (though judging by the open-book nature and reports of the difficulty level, it’s impossible to guarantee that this is an effective gate for someone determined to take a shortcut);
  2. with 1,500 approved law colleges now (of which 300 popped up in the last five years alone), it is clear that the BCI is at least in part to blame, by failing to have provided an effective check on standards (and its accreditation process having been subject to BCI corruption at least in one batch of cases);
  3. it puts a new spin on the “fake advocates” debate started by the BCI. For one, it’s quite possible fake advocates exist. However, if a fake advocate was also holding a fake LLB degree, the expensive and much-delayed verification exercise would have done little to expose these.
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