4 law colleges of Mumbai fails BCI test, hefty fine imposed on others

Admissions for the law course in Maharashtra are already facing a number of delays and are unlikely to be completed any time soon when four law colleges (that too government) have failed to pass the Bar Council of India’s accreditation standards. Four of the city’s top law colleges have failed to get relief from the Bar Council of India (BCI) in the second and final hearing, adding to uncertainty over law admissions in the state.

The four colleges which do not figure in the second list of eligible institutions: Government Law College (GLC), KC and GJ Advani Law Colleges (Hyderabad Sind National Collegiate Board) and Jitendra Chauhan College of Law (SVKM group). In the year 2013, these four colleges were debarred from admissions and were declared under the no-admission category for not having the required number of teachers on board. The colleges and the state government continued to seek extension for three years. This year, however, the legal education committee has rejected their request and have decided to not allow them to participate in the centralized admission process.

The managements of these colleges, which are facing action for not having the required number of teachers on board, are now considering moving court, which will only add to the delay in the admission process.

64 colleges across Maharashtra are facing this fate. According to a BCI member, all 64 of 127 colleges in the state which were declared ineligible in the first list will face some penalty. These colleges have been directed to pay up to Rs 31 lakh in the next six days, failing which they will also not be allowed to admit students.

New Law College in Matunga (Rs 19.5 lakh), Siddharth College, Fort, and Ambedkar College, Wadala (Rs 7.5 lakh), VPM College in Thane (Rs 13.5 lakh) and Lords College (Rs 9.5 lakh) have been asked to pay the penalty for not adhering to BCI norms and not appointing teachers. The sum includes penalty and the inspection fees charged by the BCI. Also, these colleges have been allowed to admit students this year, but they will be put under the ‘no-admission’ category in the next year. At least three other colleges in Mumbai and Nagpur together have been fined Rs 31.5 lakh for flouting BCI norms.

However, as per sources at the Government Law College, the BCI has not provided any written communication in this regard. In fact, the last time BCI inspected GLC Mumbai was in 2013, and there had been no flags raised at that point of time. On the other hand, Chairman Mishra claims that notices have been given to all these law colleges.

Amid all this, the law aspirants are, meanwhile, checking the websites of the state’s CET Cell regularly to get some update on the admission process, but are disappointed. The admission process itself is going to take over a month and they are delaying the start of the process too. Why were these approvals not sought beforehand ? – are some of the questions being raised by the parents.

The Maharashtra Common Entrance Test for Law which was held in June this year was meant to streamline admissions for approximately 30,000 students spread across the state and country. Much like the Common Law Admission Test, the CET attracted litigation in both, Aurangabad and Mumbai. In July this year, the Bombay High Court eventually dismissed the challenges to the conduct of the exam.

However, things did not end there. A few weeks after the High Court judgment, the state’s Directorate of Higher Education released a revised tentative schedule for the post-exam admission process. This revised schedule too has seen a number of delays, leading to great confusion amongst the students.

The Bar Council of India’s decision has no doubt, added to the uncertainty over the future law graduates of Maharashtra.

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