Bar council opposes higher edn bill

Bar council opposes higher edn bill

The Bar Council of India (BCI)—the apex body to regulate legal profession and education in the country—has decided to observe January 20 as protest day to oppose the Higher Education and Research Bill 2011.

The bill proposes to take away the duties and functions entrusted to the BCI and State Bar Councils as enshrined under the Advocates Act, besides violating the federal structure, Ashok K Parija, chairman of BCI, said.

“The proposed law has been drafted to silence the lawyers who have been strongly opposing the illegal steps of the government on several vital issues,” he said.

The BCI said that the new legislation would vest all powers with the National Commission – comprising of few academicians, which would lead to bureaucratisation and deprive the autonomy granted to legal education.

“The bill goes against the federal structure of the country. Higher Education is in the Concurrent list, hence, both the Central and state governments have an equal responsibility with regard to its functioning and programmes. This bill proposes regulation of syllabi, course structures, administrative protocols, appointment of vice-chancellor etc., thereby, totally denying the states of its say in the development of Higher Education, which the Bar Council of India has been undertaking with the aid of State Bar Councils,” Parija said.

He also apprehended that the new legislation would be lowering the status of the legal profession and would stealthily try to invite foreign firms to settle down in the country thus depriving legal professionals of their legitimate claims.

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