Shut down let­ter-pad law col­leges: HC

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - A.Sub­ra­mani@ times­group.com

Chen­nai: If Madras high court has its way, about 85% of the coun­try’s 1,200 law col­leges will have to be shut down to “main­tain the sanc­tity of the le­gal pro­fes­sion”.

The kan­ga­roo court men­ace by brief-less lawyers is due to ‘let­ter pad’ law col­leges in Andhra Pradesh and Kar­nataka that churn out law grad­u­ates in thou­sands, said the court, adding that the num­ber of law col­leges in In­dia should be brought down to around 175 from the ex­ist­ing 1,200-plus, as sug­gested by the for­mer chair­man of Bar Coun­cil of In­dia, Gopal Subra­ma­nium.

Jus­tice N Kirubakaran, pained at the fact that two groups of lawyers were en­gaged re­cently by Sripe­rumpudur-based An­nai Med­i­cal Col­lege to take phys­i­cal pos­ses­sion of the premises, said: “A large num­ber of can­di­dates have pur­chased law de­grees from the let­ter pad col­leges func­tion­ing in Kar­nataka and Andhra Pradesh. These peo­ple who pur­chase law de­grees from let­ter pad in­sti­tu­tions pre­fer only to in­dulge in ‘katta pan­chayat’ un­der the guise of re­solv­ing the civil dis­putes.”

Hold­ing the Bar Coun­cil of In­dia (BCI) re­spon­si­ble for in­dis­crim­i­nate dol­ing out of per­mis­sions to set up new law col­leges, the judge said that in 2010 Gopal Subra­ma­nium had said that the re­quire­ment of law col­leges in In­dia was only 175. At that time, the na­tion had only 800 col­leges. How­ever, be­tween 2012 and 2014, the num­ber of law col­leges rose to 1,200.

On what ba­sis the BCI granted ap­proval for so many col­leges, he asked, adding: “Is there any sur­vey con­ducted by BCI or Union min­istry of law and jus­tice to know the ac­tual re­quire­ment of lawyers?”

Why should Andhra Pradesh and Kar­nataka have 200 and 125 law col­leges (re­spec­tively), asked the judge, adding: “Many per­sons, with­out even at­tend­ing the col­leges, are able to get law de­grees and some are us­ing the de­grees as a shield to hide their crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.”

In this re­gard, Jus­tice Kirubakaran said time had come for BCI to make bio­met­ric at­ten­dance sys­tem manda­tory in law col­leges and also cre­ate a cen­tralised por­tal of the teach­ing staff de­tails across In­dia. The BCI should em­u­late the In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants and keep the pass per­cent­age at only 7% to 8% in the qualifying ex­am­i­na­tions, he said.

Jus­tice Kirubakaran said: “If such is the sit­u­a­tion inside the court, one can­not imag­ine the po­si­tion out­side the court.”

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