On May 31st, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Centre, the University of Delhi (DU), and the Bar Council of India (BCI), seeking direction not to reduce the LLB seats in the University. The current intake of students is 2,310. Thus, the Delhi High Court asked the BCI to consider DU’s representation for increasing the seats in its LLB course and to take a decision by the evening of June 6th.
DU had sought permission to increase its seats for the law course, claiming it had improved its infrastructure and increased the strength of its teaching faculty. The Bench observed that the BCI had not capped the seats due to the lack of infrastructure, and therefore its improvement wouldn’t entitle DU to seek an increase in seats offered for the course. It, however, allowed DU to advertise for only 1,440 seats for its law course, like last year and said it would be subjected to the outcome of a plea seeking an increase of seats to 2,310. The order came during a hearing of a petition by lawyer Joginder Kumar Sukhija, who claimed that many students, especially graduates, would be affected if the seats were reduced. The petition added that by reducing the number of seats, the public money, which is used to provide a grant to DU, was not being put to optimal use.
Last year, the DU students protested after reports surfaced on the suggestion by the BCI to trim down the number of seats for admission to the 2016-17 batches for LLB seats at the three law centers. Since 2014, the Law Faculty has been in trouble with the BCI for not following the council’s rules regarding infrastructure support and student intake.
The PIL sought a direction to strike down the clause 5 A of Schedule-III of Rules of Legal Education 2008 enacted by the BCI, claiming it was capricious and in blatant violation of fundamental rights. Under Rule 5 A, a law college can admit only 300 students each year. As the varsity has three law centers, it can have a total of 900 seats only. But, as an exception, BCI has allowed the varsity to admit additional 180 seats per center for reserved categories, the lawyers’ body told the court. Hence, the law aspirants are hoping for an increase in the number of seats in DU. After all, 2000 students should be accommodated if adequate infrastructure is made available to those aspiring to enroll in the varsity.
Feature Image Credits: Bar & Bench