Conduct surprise inspections, take steps to close law colleges functioning without infrastructure: Delhi High Court directs BCI

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The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to constitute a special team of experts to conduct surprise visits of colleges that lack infrastructure and facilities for teaching law [New Millennium Education Society vs GGSIPU].

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh ordered that inspection reports of the colleges should be uploaded on BCI’s website within one month of inspection and if they are found to be functioning without minimal infrastructure then the council must take immediate steps to close such institutions.

“This is a much-needed therapy that ought to be introduced to cure the maladies that legal education is suffering from,” the court observed.

The court added that it is high time the BCI along with all stakeholders, including Senior Advocates, academicians and even former judges of the Supreme Court and High Court may be requested to take upon themselves the task of reforming the status of legal education in India.

Justice Singh was dealing with a batch of petitions seeking direction to the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIU) to allocate 110 seats to the Ideal Institute of Management & Technology, one of its affiliated colleges, for BA LLB Five Years’ Integrated Course for Academic Sessions 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The Institute told the court that it has been granted approval by the BCI for 120 seats since the academic session 2014-15 and even for the 2022-23 session, it has received a similar approval.

However, the university has refused to allocate 110 seats despite there being adequate space and infra, it was argued.

The University said that the institute was not entitled to the strength of 110 students as it is holding classes in the basement.

BCI stated that an academic building of Centre of Legal Education should have separate classrooms of 60 students for each section along with rooms for tutorial work, moot court room, common rooms for male and female students and adequate library or reading space.

After hearing the counsel for all sides, the court observed that classes or any other educational activity cannot be allowed to function in a basement which is otherwise allotted for parking purposes and that the institute lacked the requisite Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for an additional intake of students in the BA LLB course.

It also noted that Directorate of Higher Education (DHE) had granted the petitioner institute a No Objection Certificate (NOC) only for the admission of 85 students in the BA LLB course.

Therefore, the court dismissed the petitions. However, it directed the respondents to maintain status quo regarding already admitted students in previous academic sessions in compliance with its past orders.

“No such benefit shall be allowed for the Academic Session 2022-23, and only admission to 85 Seats already allotted by the Respondent University shall be done by the petitioner institute in its BA LLB Course,” the Court ordered.

Senior Advocate HS Phoolka along with advocates Deepak Vohra, Shilpa Diwan and Mayank Kumar appeared for the petitioner.

Advocates Ekta Sikri, Jasbir Bidhuri and Sriwas appeared for the University.

ASC Sameer Vashisht and advocate Sanjana Nangia appeared for Responded no. 2.

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