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Sibal hopes law education will be under NCHER

HRD Minister hoped that law education will come under the ambit of a proposed overarching body.



New Delhi: Despite reservations of the Bar
Council of India, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today hoped that
law education will come under the ambit of a proposed
overarching body in higher education and ruled out differences
with the Law Ministry over the issue.

Sibal, however, said his ministry will continue to hold
discussions with the Law Ministry and the Bar Council of India
(BCI) over the issue.

"We are planning to set up a National Commission for
Higher Education and Research (NCHER). Hopefully, with the
dialogue with the Law Minster and others we will include law
in it (NCHER)," Sibal said addressing a BCI conference here.

His comments assume significance in the wake of the BCI,
an autonomous body that sets the standards of professional
conduct and etiquette as also standards of legal education,
saying it did not agree with the proposed bill which seeks to
put legal education under the ambit of NCHER.

Sibal also ruled out differences between the Human
Resources Ministry and the Law Ministry over the inclusion of
law education in NCHER.

"No difference...There is no question of difference.
There has to be a dialogue. This has to be decided at the
national level, it will be decided. Everybody will participate
in the discussions," he told reporters later when queried
whether there was any difference between the two ministries.

At the conference, Sibal said there is an "umbilical
cord" between education and law and that the legal fraternity
must come on board with the government to move forward in
solving the problems of the nation through innovative ideas.

He also asserted that Government was not willing to
control the profession of law.

"We do not want to control the profession nor we desire
to nor we have the intention (to control it). What we want to
do is to seek the collaboration of the legal fraternity in an
attempt to solve the problems," he said.

The HRD Minister, himself a reputed lawyer, said quality
of education in the country should improve and that the legal
professionals should help the country in creating intangible
assets.

The proposed NCHER will replace the existing regulatory
authorities like University Grants Commission, All India
Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and National Council of
Teachers` Education (NCTE).

Sibal said there should be integrity at all levels and
especially in the legal profession.

Referring to suggestions made by several legal
luminaries, he said there should be entry-level tests to get
admission into law courses.

Sibal also said there was no doubt that the legal
language should be made simpler and that legal experts should
come forward to train professionals.

In the US and other countries, many legal luminaries take
classes to law graduates at various institutes. "There is no
such system in India. Why not people like Fali S Nariman
(senior counsel) and Soli Sorabjee (former Solicitor General)
be part of some legal institutes?"

Sibal said the universities and legal institutes can also
hire visiting professors and lecturers from abroad to train
students here.

The HRD Minister also said the government does want to
interfere in the affairs of educational institutions like IITs
and IIMs.

"We don`t want to interfere in their affairs. We don`t
want to appoint vice-chancellors on our own. It is not our job
also. Let the experts do it and give names to us, we will
appoint them," Sibal said.

He said the government wants teachers themselves to
formulate the curriculum.

PTI

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