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BACKGROUND

  • A petition was filed before the Madras High Court challenging the validity of certain law courses offered by Annamalai University.
  • The University awarded LLB (general) and LLB (Academic) courses given by the Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai University and the same had been challenged.
  • The said courses were challenged on the ground that they were not being authorised by Bar Council of India.

SUBMISSIONS BY THE UNIVERSITY

  • Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram appearing on behalf of the University submitted that the University had issued a disclaimer stating that the said courses will not entitle the diploma holder to enrol or practice as an advocate.
  • He also stated that the courses were provided only with the aim to impart knowledge and hence did not require BCI’s approval.
  • He also argued that there was no rule of BCI prohibiting distance legal education and there are 32 universities in India that are imparting distance legal courses.

SUBMISSIONS BY THE BCI

  • The counsel for BCI pointed out that affidavit of UGC in this matter refers to a statement by BCI that no authorization will be given to a distance education course in law.
  • The BCI also said that it has not recognised this course.

ORDER

  • While enquiring as to how BCI prescribes the curriculum for law courses, the Court observed that while the BCI has the power to do so under Section 7 of the Advocates Act, it is not exercising this power efficiently.
  • The Chief Justice of Madras High Court also asked BCI if they also specify the reading material for the course.
  • Observing the contention of disclaimer given by the University, the Court noted that the disclaimer should be prominent and misleading.

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