The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that its decision to scrap the one-year LL.M program and derecognize foreign LL.M will be brought into force only from the academic year 2022-23.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde recorded the submissions of BCI Chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra that decision to scrap the one-year LL.M program will not impact this academic year’s students and adjourned the matter for four weeks.
“The BCI rules to abolish one-year LL.M are proposed to be brought into force from the academic year 2022-2023“, Mishra told the court.
The Bench also issued notice to BCI and sought its response on the plea filed by the Consortium of National Law Universities (NLU Consortium) and two other candidates challenging the decision of the BCI to scrap the one-year LL.M program and derecognize foreign LL.M.
Recently, the BCI had notified the BCI Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical, and other Continuing Education) Rules, 2020 scrapping the one-year LL.M course. The Rules were notified in the official gazette on January 4, by which it mandated that the post-graduate course in law leading to Master’s degree (LL.M) has to be of two years spread over four semesters.
The Rules also partly derecognized foreign LL.M saying that they shall be equivalent to LL.M obtained in India only if it is taken after obtaining the LL.B degree from any foreign or Indian University which is equivalent to the recognized LL.B degree in India.
The NLU Consortium contended in the top court that none of the NLUs was consulted by BCI before taking the decision. It was further contended that the BCI does not have powers to regulate higher education in the field of Law and that is the job of the University Grants Commission or of an expert body.
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