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UGC ‘buying time’ claims Madhava Menon, as body limps closer to notifying one-year LLM

Two-year LLM: So long?
Two-year LLM: So long?
The duration of the LLM degree course in India will be halved to one year after the University Grants Commission (UGC) agreed with amended regulations last month but said it did not get around to discussing the actual guidelines to implement the new course.

The UGC approved an amendment to the UGC (Minimum Standards of Instructions for the grant of the Master’s Degree through Formal Education) Regulations, 2003 at its meeting on 6 Septemberber. But discussion on “the guidelines for the introduction of the one-year LLM degree” was “deferred”, according to minutes of the UGC’s 6 September meeting.

Prof NR Madhava Menon, who was heading the expert committee that recommended the one-year LLM to the UGC and devised the guidelines for its implementation, said: “We have worked on the guidelines and given them. So the commission has both the scheme as well as the recommendations. Only the notification remains to go up on their website.

“After initially approving the recommendations they wanted the guidelines. We already gave it to them. In September they accepted and approved the guidelines. They only want to buy time by saying that they have not yet been discussed.”

Menon told Legally India that NLU Delhi vice chancellor (VC) Prof Ranbir Singh will convene a meeting at the law school on 6 November to further discuss the restructuring and implementation of the one-year LLM degree.

Menon’s expert committee’s recommendations for bringing down the duration of the two-year LLM degree were first accepted in June last year, as reported by The Telegraph at the time.

The shorter LLM course is expected to be implemented from next year, after the idea has been afloat for the last two years according to a report in the Tribune last month, with Menon telling the paper: “The undergraduate degree in law (LLB) is good enough for those who want to practice law. For those interested in serious study of law and teaching, we have proposed a one-year LLM degree instead of two-year degree. Only India, Bangladesh and Pakistan impart two-year LLM. Everywhere else, we have one-year masters in law. That is why our law graduates are going to the West for post-graduation.”

Last month Legally India reported that NLUO Cuttack’s three-year joint LLM and PhD degree program, which was started by the law school’s former VC Faizan Mustafa in 2011 hoping for implementation of the one-year LLM from 2013, had been scrapped. NLUO’s new VC Prof Chandra Krishnamurthy cited lack of specific approval as a hurdle in continuing the three-year course.

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