The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R Subbiah made the observation while hearing a case related to proliferation of law colleges across the country and law courses being offered through distance education programme.
Pointing out that more than three lakh lawyers graduated every year and those who pass out were not desirable and they discredited the profession, the bench cited instances of unruliness, even the way elections are held at the level of local advocate associations and to the various wings of the Bar Council.
Finding from the counsel appearing for BCI that there were as many as 1,600 law colleges in the country, Chief Justice Banerjee wondered if there were enough qualified faculty members to cater to such institutes. He also stressed on the need for the Bar Council to take up the issue of quality legal education, which it is bestowed with at the all India level, and deal with the prevailing malice.
During the hearing, the BCI counsel also submitted that though a moratorium of three years has been issued in the start of any new law college, states continued to give permission to start colleges leading to Bar Council entertaining approvals. He also pointed out that though such distance education programmes allowing grant of LLB was not entertained in Tamil Nadu, candidates register themselves in bars other than Tamil Nadu and start practise here.
The matter pertains to the award of degrees in LLB (General) and LLB (Academic) by the Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai University. The Bar Council had submitted that it has not recognised the institute to offer such courses, adding that without it recognising legal education course or institution, it could not be imparted by anybody. The degrees awarded by such bodies do not entitle the degree-holders to practise in this country.
However, Annamalai University had contended that it had obtained the right to impart distance education, purely for educational purposes and not for relying thereon to be enrolled as a lawyer. The court on Friday extended the stay on both the courses.