Law education in India may undergo a drastic change if the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) suggestion for permanent CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is accepted, said the BCI in a reply filed before the Supreme Court in response to Prof. Shamnad Basheer’s petition for a permanent CLAT.
The BCI has offered to conduct CLAT, proposing it may be permitted to constitute the body of experts through its Legal Education Committee, to hold the common test with the involvement of sitting and former judges, law academicians, and jurists.
Hitherto admissions to national law universities (NLUs) are being made on the basis of an admission test conducted by a non-statutory body. As per the Advocates Act, 1961, the BCI submitted: “A statutory body regulating the legal education in the country is duly constituted and is capable enough to conduct such admission tests”.
The BCI said that it has a mechanism in place to conduct the entrance test for law courses for all institutions imparting legal education in the country through a common entrance test.
BCI’s suggestion is that admissions would take place on the basis of merit.
The petitioner, Prof. Basheer, sought the setting up of a “robust, structured and institutionalised mechanism for conducting CLAT to avoid uncertainties and reduce the scope for errors and lapses”.
CLAT was envisaged as a single entrance examination for all NLUs and students were to be admitted on the basis of scores obtained in the test. However, it remains to be seen whether the admission would be on an all-India basis or states have their own rules relating to regulation of admission into law colleges.
Although an all-India exam is now on after graduation in law and internship for law practice, there are so many lapses. Till the issue is settled, ‘fake’ lawyers may flourish.