1. The petitioner is an existing Law College which is established by a minority institution. It was given permission by the Bar Council of India to run a law college consisting of three divisions. The petitioner is conducting three year day college course, three year evening college course and five year day college course for the academic years 1998-99 and 1999-2000. They approached the Bar Council of India, the first respondent herein seeking extension of affiliation of the petitioner's college. The Legal Education Committee of the first respondent met on 22-8-1998 and passed the following resolution:
'Committee considered the inspection report of Veeravalli College of Law, Rajahmundry, A.P. In view of the findings and observations made in the Inspection report, committee is of the view that college be granted extension of approval of affiliation for the periods 1998-99 and 1999-2000 with intake of
3 years regular (day) course - two sections- 80 students each and
5 years regular (day) course - one section-80 students.
Further, committee is of the view that three years (evening) section be discontinued.'
The decision of the Legal Education Committee was communicated to the petitioner by letter No.BCI:D.833 of 1998 (LE.Affln) (Item 2C/98), dated 9-9-1998.
2. While according extension of approval of affiliation for the periods 1998-99 and 1999-2000 with an intake of 80 students in each year of three year regular daycourse and five year regular day course, the Bar Council of India declined to grant extension of approval of affiliation for the three year evening course conducted by the petitioner's college. The petitioner, after receiving the letter dated 9-9-1998, which is impugned in this writ petition, filed a representation with the first respondent on 4-6-1999 and as yet no orders are passed by the Bar Council of India.
3. In the meanwhile, the Convenor, LAWCET issued an admission notification dated 13-10-1999. The same is in obedience to the interim orders of this Court in similar writ petitions pending before this Court. The notification invites applications for admission to evening law courses in different law colleges. The name of the petitioner's college is not included in the list of 13 colleges mentioned in the notification.
4. The learned Counsel for the petitioner, Sri D.V. Sitharam Murlhy has submitted that the rejection of extension of approval of affiliation for the LLB, three year (evening) course is in contravention of Article 39-A of the Constitution of India. He relies on the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra v. Mamubhai Pragaji Vashi, : AIR1996SC1 , and submits that if a law college is declined permission to conduct law courses, the same would violate the fundamental right of the citizens to free legal aid. The learned Counsel further submits that a batch of writ petitions wherein the action of the Bar Council of India in refusing to grant extension of approval of affiliation for three year LLB course (evening) for the academic years 1998-99 and 1999-2000 is challenged, are pending and that in all these matters this Court has issued interim direction to allow the concerned law colleges to admit students to the evening classes of LLB, and further observed that the students so admitted pursuant to the interim orders of this Courtshould not claim any equities in the event of the writ petitions being dismissed. It is nextly contended that the action of the first respondent violates the petitioner's fundamental rights under Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
5. The Supreme Court in the context of facts in Mamibhai Pragaji's case (supra) held that if the Government fails to grant aid to the lecturers working in law colleges, the same would result in diluting the quality of legal education and, therefore, it is in violation of Article 39-A of the Constitution of India. In my considered opinion, the action of the first respondent in trying to put a full stop to three year evening law courses is in furtherance of increasing the quality of legal education. The impugned order is in fact supported by the judgment of the Supreme Court referred to by the learned Counsel for the petitioner. In this context, it is useful to refer to the following passage from the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mamibhai Pragaji's case (supra):
'The need for a continuing and well organised legal education, is absolutely essential reckoning the new trends in the world order, to meet the ever growing challenges. The legal education should be able to meet the ever growing demands of the society and thoroughly equipped to cater to the complexities of the different situations. Specialisation in different branches of law is necessary. The requirement is of such a great dimension, that sizeable or vast number of dedicated persons should be properly trained in different branches of law, every year by providing or rendering competent and proper legal education. This is possible only if adequate number of law colleges with proper infrastructure including expertise law teachers and staff are established to deal with situation in an appropriate manner. It cannot admitof doubt that, of late there is a fall in the standard of legal education. The area of 'deficiency' should be located and correctives should be effected with the co-operation of competent persons before the matter gets beyond control. Needless to say that reputed and competent academics should be taken into confidence and their services availed of, to set right matters.'
6. The second submission is that this Court is already seized of the matter and, therefore, this writ petition should also be admitted and appropriate orders are to be passed. No doubt, the learned Counsel is correct in saying that having regard to the principles of propriety there should be uniformity in passing the orders in various writ petitions. However, the learned Counsel is not able to persuade me that an interim order passed by another learned Judge is a binding precedent on this Court and, therefore, it should also be given the same treatment.
7. In this connection, it is well to remember that sincere efforts are afoot in India to improve the quality of legal education. It was in fact an important recommendation of the 14th Law Commission headed by Sri M.C. Setalvad.
8. The question of legal education was specifically referred to in XIV Report of the Law Commission of India under the Chairmanship of Sri M.C. Setalvad. Chapter 25 of the Report is entirely devoted to legal education. The Commission noted that the subject of legal education was the concern of Calcutta University Commission 1917-18, the University Education Commission of 1948-49 headed by Dr. Radhakrishnan, Bombay Legal Education Committee, 1949 and the AH India Bar Committee of 1953. Even as late as 1885 AD the Nation felt the need to improve legal education. The history of the effortsmade by the Nation was traced by the Law Commission and dealing with the part-time legal education in Para 6 of Ch.25, the Law Commission observed-
'....Excepting in certain centres likeBombay and Madras where full-time law colleges exist, education is imparted in part-time classes held in the mornings or evenings. The teachers are mainly legal practitioners who give tuition outside Court hours. Some of these institutions are run exclusively by part-time teachers. Many of these institutions have no buildings or libraries of their own and classes are held in buildings belonging to arts colleges and other institutions. Large numbers of the pupils serve in Government Offices or elsewhere while attending the institutions and take the law course with a view to better their prospects in service by obtaining a law degree. Some are post-graduate students who, in addition to the postgraduate courses which they have taken and which are their main objective, wish to add to their qualification a degree in law.'
9. In the context of improving legal education in the country the Law Commission inter alia also commended that law teaching should be provided only in full time institutions and that persons who are in employment and who are pursuing any other course of study should not be permitted to join the law college.
10. In the light of these, the decision of the Bar Council assailed in this writ petition in not permitting thepetitioner-College to continue evening law courses cannot be held to be unfair and unreasonable.
11. Thereafter, a large number ofcommittees and jurists recommended various steps to improve the quality of legal education.
12. As recently as in 1993, the Committee of Judges constituted by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India has made various recommendations to improve the quality of legal education. The Committee inter alia recommended that five year system of law course after 10+2 level be introduced. There is no doubt that the impugned order by the first respondent is passed keeping in view this recommendation and there cannot be any challenge to the order passed by the Bar Council of India on the grounds of arbitrariness and unreasonableness. Further, it is conceded that the Bar Council of India is the Apex Authority to grant affiliation and oversee the quality of legal education in this country by virtue of the Rules made under Section 49 of the Advocates Act, 1961. Therefore, the order passed by the Bar Council of India is well within its power and even otherwise it has a rationale principle in rejecting the extension of approval of affiliation for three year (evening) law course section. By the impugned order, the three year day course and five year day course are permitted. Even on this score, there is no violation of fundamental right flowing from Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
13. It is the last submission of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner being a minority institution, the rights guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution of India are violated. It is settled by a catena of decisions that a minority institution has a right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. This right does not include the right to mal-administer and misuse the sanctions and approvals given by the authorities. In my considered opinion, the impugned order does not in any way violate the rights of the petitioner under Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
14. For the above reasons, I do not see any ground to entertain the writpetition and the same is dismissed at theadmission stage.