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Book burden on law pupils
- Bar council orders semesters, more papers in varsity course

Aspirants to the black robe will have to devote more time to books.

The law course of Calcutta University (CU) may see introduction of the semester system and a sharp increase in the number of papers from the next academic session, if the Bar Council of India has its way. Both changes are sure to make budding lawyers more book-bound.

The council in a directive has asked universities across the country to implement the directive from the 2009-10 session as part of its attempt to overhaul the law courses. The universities that will fail to abide by the order will have their courses derecognised.

CU has welcomed the directive but wants the council to extend the deadline as not all of its affiliated colleges are yet ready for the switch.

“We welcome the council’s decision but some of our law colleges need to upgrade their infrastructure to implement the directive. The colleges will also need to appoint more teachers. We will urge the council to give us some more time to implement the order,” said vice-chancellor Suranjan Das.

Das and pro vice-chancellor (academic) Dhrubojyoti Chatterjee will meet L. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of the Bar Council of India, in Delhi on Monday to discuss ways to switch to the new system from the next academic session.

Sources said the council preferred the semester system — CU now holds tests once a year — as it would result in continuous and better appraisal of the students.

The directive also states that at the undergraduate level, the universities will have to teach 20 papers on laws of the land, 16 non-legal papers (such as political science, economics, sociology and history), six special papers and four practical subjects, such as pleading and alternative redress system. Those studying honours will have to clear eight more papers.

Undergraduate students now study only 35 papers.

The council also wants the colleges to have at least 10 full-time teachers. Officials said some CU affiliates — including Surendranath and South Calcutta Law College and a few self-financed institutes — do not have that many full-time teachers.

“It’s difficult to meet the deadline. But the issue is serious and the colleges will have to do the needful to ensure the deadline is implemented. Or else, the students will suffer,” said Amit Sen, a former dean of the university’s law faculty.

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