MUMBAI: Expressing concern at the fate of students aspiring to join a law course in Maharashtra, under the state CET, a bench of the Bombay high court headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, posted a challenge raised by a group of students against the inordinate delay in admissions, for a hearing on September 14.
The Universities supported the cause of the students. A group of law students from SNDT Women’s University in the city had last week filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the delay in admissions to the first year for academic year 2016-17. The PIL filed against the Bar Council of India is for the inordinate delay which they say is encroaching on their right to education. The recent debarring of over 60 law colleges by the Bar Council across the state is what the students are worried about and they have questioned the powers of the BCI in its “abrupt action” and “highhandedness”.
The PIL filed through advocates Kamaljeet Singh and I A Saiyed draws the attention of the court to the fact that admissions to the first year of bachelors degree in law in colleges across the state have yet to take place and as a consequence students have been “denied the right to education for no lawful excuse.”
“The Authorities which have stopped admissions to the first year of Law Degree Course have exercised power which are not vested in them and even if they did have powers they have acted abruptly, and grossly abused such powers.” “The Welfare-State of Maharashtra and Universities runningLaw Colleges in Maharashtra are surprisingly silent and unconcerned with the denial of right of education to citizens of India residing in the State of Maharashtra,” said the students. The main plea is for directions to all law colleges to start admissions immediately.
The PIL has alleged that the “BCI has caused severe bureaucratic red-tapism and unreasonable delay in Maharashtra which would put immense pressure not only on students but also on teachers and the non-teaching staff.” The minimum required period of 90 days for teaching per semester would not be possible without taking away the vacation for teachers and students now.
The reason for the delay, the students were told when they enquired is that the colleges had not deposited “lakhs of rupees for college inspection, a mandatory payment even if there has been not inspection of the individual college.” The PIL says the BCI is charging inspection fee for no inspection. The other reason cited was that when inspection was done, it was found that some law colleges did not adequate staff and hence the approval for such colleges has been cancelled.
Most law colleges have an examination in October and if by September too admissions haven’t been granted, the cascading effect would adversely impact students who “may later join the judiciary or other firms with hardly any knowledge of basic fundamental laws.” Instead of delegating powers to the state bar council the BCI is arrogating the powers to itself and sends its members to Mumbai from Delhi and distant places -incurring great cost which is passed on to colleges, and ultimately to students in the form of fees, the PIL is at pains to point out.
Meanwhile, the fate of nearly 30,000 students seeking admission to undergraduate law courses still hangs in balance.
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