The new Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical, and other continuing Education) Rules, 2020 seeks to abolish the one-year Master Degree in Law (LL.M) in India.
The said master’s degree in the present case was first introduced in India in 2013 by the University Grants Commission.
As per the new notification, it states that,
“A Master Degree Program in Law of a duration of one-year shall remain operative and valid until the Academic Session in which these Regulations are notified and implemented but not thereafter at any University throughout the country.”
These rules accordingly will come into force from the date notified by the Bar Council of India.
The new rules also provide that the post-graduate course in Law which leads to a Master Degree (LL.M) has to be of a duration of two years’ spreading over four semesters. The rule further also stated that the Master Degree course is restricted to only those students who have Graduated in Law/have received an LLB degree.
The new rule issued by the BCI reads as following,
“Bar Council of India (either directly or through its Trust) may annually conduct a Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) for admission in Master Degree course in Law in all Universities and until the PGCETL is introduced the present system followed by respective Universities shall be followed. Once the BCI introduces PGCETL it shall be mandatory to admit students from the merit list of the Test.”
Other stipulations by the rule are listed as following:
A pass in the three-year LL.B. or a five-year LL.B. in an Integrated Law Degree course is the entry-level qualification securing a percentage of marks as may be notified by the Entrance Examination Testing Body of Bar Council of India either through All India Entrance Test or at the state level as the case may be.
- No University shall admit and award any Master’s degree in law (LL.M.) to any person who has not obtained (i) the degree of Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) after graduation in any subject or area or discipline or (ii) an Integrated degree such as, BA.LL.B. or BBA.LL.B or B.Sc. LL.B. after studying at least a minimum period of five years.
- A Master’s degree in any specialized branch of Law offered in the Open System to any graduate, such as Business Law or Human Right, or International Trade Law without having LL.B./BA.LLB as the requisite entry-level qualification shall not be designated as Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M.) but can be designated in any other manner attracting the immediate attention of anyone that such a degree holder may not be a Law graduate. Master’s degree in Business Law may be designated as (MBL); Master’s in Governance and Public Policy as (MGPP), Master’s in Human Rights as (MHR), Master’s in Industrial Laws (MIL), etc., which cannot be considered equivalent to LL.M.]
- Masters degree obtained from a Foreign University, which has been prosecuted without an equivalent LL.B. degree shall not be equivalent to an Indian LL.M. degree.
- In order to qualify for the test of equivalence of a Masters degree obtained from any foreign University the Masters’ Degree in Law course must have been taken only after obtaining the LL.B. degree from any foreign or Indian University which is equivalent to the recognized LL.B. degree in India.
‘The Education Policy, 2020 of Government of India’ is also stated in the notification by the Bar Council of India which categorically carves out legal education from the newly proposed umbrella apex body institution, Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) with its regulatory arm of National Higher Education Regulatory Council.
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