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Undefeated champion-chairman Mishra prevails again (for now) over HRD plans to regulate legal education away from BCI

Yet again, the Bar Council of India (BCI) remains the undefeated and uncontested champion in successive governments’ empty trash talk to strip the regulator of the power to do as it wishes with law schools in the country.

According to the Hindustan Times, a Human Resource development (HRD) ministry official, “requesting anonymity”, said: “BCI was not in favour of including law colleges under the ambit of HECI. So, it has been decided that at least for the time being, the regulator will not oversee them.”

Overall, it proves yet again, that the BCI is unbeatable when it comes to win its title as sole regulator of legal education in India.

In early October, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra and co-chairman Ved Prakash Sharma had sent a long open letter to Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi Ji, warning him against messing with the BCI over legal education, or risk national lawyer strikes paralysing the legal system.

Cleary, the warning had its effect.

Ved Prakash Sharma told the HT: “What needs to be understood is that Bar Council of India and its committees, which have retired Supreme Court judge, sitting chief justices of high courts and professionals, has been managing legal education in the country in an efficient manner. The move to have legal education under the Higher Education Council, was the idea of bureaucrats and has been rightly rejected by the government.”

That said, we may not have seen the last of the government’s attempts to take away the monopoly of the BCI, which has seen the creation of a flourishing ecosystem of law school mushrooms.

The anonymous HRD source had added ominously to the HT: “Once the body is created and all stakeholders agree, it is possible this may still happen.”

In short: the plan right now is to push through the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) through parliament first (the bill is at “an advanced stage of consultation” right now, according to the HRD official), without as much controversy, and try to tackle the BCI later, if ever?

The HECI will no doubt be marking down court holidays in its calendar to decide on the most auspicious timings to challenge the BCI again in future.

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