Cuttack, June 11: The Union human resources development ministry’s proposed Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011, has come under flak from the Odisha State Bar Council (OSBC).
Opposing the bill, OSBC chairman Gopal Krushna Mohanty said: “It is an attempt to encroach upon the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, with a view to use the functions and duties of elected bodies consisting of more than 17 lakh advocates of the country.”
“It directly affects the vital and basic structures of the Advocates Act, 1961, as it deprives the representative of the advocates of India to have their say in the formulation and implementation of policies involving legal education,” Mohanty said.
The Advocates Act, 1961, gives absolute autonomy and independence to the Bar Council of India and various state bar councils to regulate legal profession and education by working with the universities.
While adopting a resolution yesterday in response to a nation-wide call given by the Bar Council of India, the OSBC demanded exclusion of either the Advocates Act, 1961, or legal education in the ambit of the bill. It also demanded protection of the functions and duties of the state bar councils and Bar Council of India under the Advocates Act, 1961.
The bill proposes regulation of syllabi, course structures, administrative protocols, appointment of vice-chancellors and so on, totally denying the states of their say in the development of higher education, which the Bar Council of India has so far been undertaking with the aid of various state bar councils.
“In the process, the bill proposes to take away the duties and functions entrusted to the Bar Council of India and the various state bar councils and vest all the powers with a national commission constituting only a few academicians. This will only lead to bureaucratisation of the legal education system,” said OSBC member Jagannath Patnaik.
A joint meeting of members of the Bar Council of India and representatives of various state bar councils on May 19 had unanimously expressed the view that “any attempt to take away or replace the legal education committee of the Bar Council of India by the proposed bill would be a direct attempt to spoil the legal education of the country in the garb of globalisation”.