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Eyeing NLS, BCI JVs with KIIT to start Indian Inst. of Law for teachers + CLE in Bhubaneswar

Launch of new BCIT-KIIT JV (via KIIT announcement)
Launch of new BCIT-KIIT JV (via KIIT announcement)

The Bar Council of India (BCI), hot on the heels of having announced the banning of Indian one-year LLM programmes and a greater focus on continuing legal education (CLE), has announced that through the BCI Trust it would start an Indian Institute of Law (IIL) in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar, under an MOU with with the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT).

KIIT, which also operates a private law school, would supply the land in Bhubaneswar and pay for 40% of the costs of infrastructure development of the new campus.

The IIL was launched by BCI functionaries on 29 January and promises to be a “model institute of law teachers’ academy, continues legal education and research”.

Further details about its exact purpose, ambit and the financials are a bit sparse on the ground at the moment.

The IIL would be “primarily for the teachers of law”, according to a BCI statement, however, it also stated that it would be the first of its kind “training institute in law to cater to the needs for skill development of the law teachers and the advocates”, allowing them to “enhance their expertise and professional skill and acumen”, suggesting there is also a major continuing legal education (CLE) angle.

Orissa Diary has carried an article that looks like it might entirely consist of either the BCI's or KIIT's press release or a speech at the launch (see full text below).

The announcement does not yet appear to have been covered widely outside of the Odisha regional press, except for in the New Indian Express.

According to the statement, the BCI had long planned to start an ILI but “it could not be materialized earlier due to one or other reason”, until it “finally contacted” Dr Achyuta Samanta, the founder of one of the more well-known private universities, KIIT, and its law school, as well as Lok Sabha member for the regional Biju Janata Dal party.

Update 31 January: KIIT was also awarded the Institution of Eminence (IoE) designation by the Government.

Samanta tweeted that this collaboration was a legal education “landmark”, adding:

I am glad that for the first time in India, a Government body has come forward to collaborate with private university to establish an institute of National importance.

This has set a precedent for times to come. We are fully committed to provide all requisite assistance in terms of land and infrastructure to supplement the BCI’s funding.

The apparent BCI statement noted that KIIT “provided requisite land at the prime location of Bhubaneswar” and would “bear 40% of the cost of the infrastructure of the proposed campus of 1.5 lakh sq. feet”.

That appears to imply that the BCI Trust would pay for the remaining 60% of infrastructure development.

The BCI release also name checked that the BCI Trust had founded NLSIU Bangalore in 1986 (which had happened under the visionary chairmanship of the late senior counsel Ram Jethmalani).

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra (whose tenure as chairman is expected to exceed Jethmalani’s in length in the coming months), praised the collaboration in an interview on Kalinga TV confirming that an MOU had been entered into with KIIT (see 3:11 minute mark for Mishra).

Some of BCI's previous public-private partnerships

The BCI joining hands with a private institution to offer professional training is a novel and interesting development.

However, if such collaborations between the statutory authority that exclusively regulates India’s lawyers and law schools and a private university are to become more common, it is not clear whether a tender has taken place or would be in future similar arrangements.

We have not been able to confirm whether any other private or public law schools or organisations had applied or were eligible to start an IIL; it is also not certain whether any consultation have taken place with academics or other stakeholders before the BCI embarked on its latest venture.

The BCI’s prior conduct and the surprise announcement suggests that a tender this time was probably unlikely. The first All India Bar Exam (AIBE) contract in 2009, for example, had not been tendered, and the tender for the second after 2012 was questionable, at best.

And in 2016, the BCI had passed an order forcing law schools to buy products from a private publisher nine months after that publisher had sponsored the BCI’s 50th jubilee celebrations.

Full IIL announcement (either from BCI, KIIT or Orissa Diary)

The below prima facie appears to be a statement from the BCI or chairman Mishra, or perhaps a partial transcript of his speech at the launch event.

Considering the paeans included at the bottom, the latter option seems most likely.

The Bar Council of India is a statutory body created by the Parliament under the Advocates’ Act, 1961 to discharge the functions of regulating and promoting Legal Education and Legal Profession in the country.

The Bar Council of India through its Trust namely “B. C. I. Trust for Promotion of Education (Legal & Professional) and Reforms in Law and For Improvement of Research and Social Training”, has taken the initiative to establish the “Indian Institute of Law (IIL), a Model Institute of Law Teachers’ Academy, Continuous Legal Education and Research. The academy would primarily be for the teachers of Law. The IIL would work in collaboration with Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), the famous Deemed University at Bhubaneswar in the Stateof Odisha.

Till date, there is no Training Institute in Law to cater to the needs for skill development of the Law Teachers and the Advocates. In the Indian Institute of Law (IIL), the young teachers of Law Schools of India and Advocates would enhance their expertise and professional skill and acumen.

B.C.I. TRUST had earlier established the iconic institution for Legal Education namely, National Law School of India University (NLSIU) at Bangalore in the year 1986, which continues to be the model Law University of the country. This will be the first of its kind in the entire country. Such Institution was long contemplated by the Bar Council of India and its Trust.

But the idea of B.C.I. could not be materialized earlier due to one or other reason. The Bar Council of India and its Trust finally contacted Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), a great visionary, Academician and Founder of KIIT & KISS, Deemed Universities and after visiting both the campuses of KIIT and KISS, members of the Bar Council of India decided and resolved to establish the Indian Institute of Law (IIL) at Bhubaneswar, Odisha in collaboration with and support of KIIT University. B.C.I. Trust has entered into an MoU with KIIT and accordingly KIIT has provided requisite land at the prime location of Bhubaneswar (Patia).

This apart, the KIIT will also bear 40% of the cost of the infrastructure of the proposed campus of 1.5 lakh sq. feet area.

There is no doubt that the establishment of IIL will have far reaching ramifications in the field of legal education by reinforcing the position of the State of Odisha and India in the map of global education. It would be a great achievement and pride for Odisha in particular and the Country in general.

Indian Institute of Law will administer and run various programmes for Continuing Legal Education, professional skill development programmes, refresher courses, and learning courses for Alternative Dispute resolution methods viz. Mediation and Conciliation. Under various centers of learning; it shall undertake research in all aspects of law, justice and social development.

It shall publish case books, periodicals, digests, magazines, newspapers etc. (both in hard copy and soft copy through online and offline means) on various law subjects for Lawyers undergoing legal training and Legal education for the purpose of Continuous Legal Education.

The Institute shall organize and conduct seminars, symposiums, Training programs for Advocates, Academicians and Judges.

It shall collaborate with National Law Schools, other good Universities, Professional Bodies, The Judiciary, Government Departments and NGOs from within and outside India, and with different Bar Associations, State Bar Councils and Institutions of Eminence in India and abroad or other organizations connected with legal work for advancement of its objects.

The IIL shall have the following units at the initial stage :

(i) Academic Staff College (ASC)

(ii) School of Continuing Education (SCE)

(iii) IIL Training Centre (IIL-TC)

(iv) Center for Legal Aid (CLA)

(v) Bridge courses for Foreign Degree-holders.

The IIL will constitute General Council, Executive Council and Academic Council and will have adequate representation from the Higher Judiciary, Government, Ministry of Education, UGC, Academicians, Senior Members of the Bar, the Chief Justice of Odisha etc.

Bar Council of India shall be carrying out all the programmes of the Institute on its own for the initial 3 years. After that, some National Law Universities/other Institutions with good infrastructures will also be allowed to impart the courses on the pattern of IIL.

We have resolved to actively involve and take the aid, assistance and guidance of Hon’ble sitting and former Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, Renowned Jurists and reputed Senior Advocates, eminent leaders of the Bar and persons of eminence besides noted Law teachers of NLUs and other renowned and academicians. They will be the Full time Teachers, guides and/or Honorary guest teachers.

This apart, B.C.I. Trust shall also invite noted Law Deans, Judges and Members of Bar from countries across the world for the aforementioned programmes. All the above noted Legal giants shall share their pearls of wisdom and experience which will not only benefit the law teachers and law practitioners, but also provide them with a wonderful opportunity and platform to interact and learn from legal luminaries from India and abroad.

We believe this Indian Institute of Law shall be a landmark in the history of legal education and legal profession which will greatly aid in the dispensation of law and justice.

We are grateful to Dr. Achyuta Samanta ji, the distinguished educationist, philanthropist and founder of KIIT and KISS Deemed to be Universities, who has accepted our proposal and has provided through his Trust such a valuable piece of land at Bhubaneswar for the establishment of this Novel Institution. Indeed, the coming generations of Lawyers would be indebted to Dr. Samanta.

Yes, Dr. Samanta is really a messiah for the poor tribals and education seekers. We all know, Dr. Samanta, the founder of two world class Universities, Medical, Engineering, Management, Nursing, Law, Arts and several other big Institutes provides free boarding, lodging and fooding to about 35000 tribal students everyday apart from providing them free education, right from Class I till Post Graduation. We have not seen or heard of such a great man ever in the world, who does such enormous charity so unassumingly.

He is a man who remained unmarried and does not possess a single piece of land or property in his name. Whatever he has, is for the society and for the poor, destitute, deprived and helpless people and with the primary aim of educating them and providing them with skill training and making them self sufficient to stand on their own feet, he was able to establish two world class Universities under his leadership.

This he could be able to achieve by dedication, devotion, vision, relentless perseverance and with the blessings of Lord Jagannath. It is due to this, that the Bar Council of India has unanimously decided to dedicate to him the establishment of Indian Institute of Law at Bhubaneswar, Odisha for bringing forth marvelous achievement and excellence in the field of Law-Teaching.

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