MUMBAI: Law students in colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University are studying an outdated syllabus. University of Mumbai’s inability to respond to an RTI query and then directing it to its’ affiliated colleges,has put a question mark on the course content being taught in city colleges. An RTI filed by Hussain Ali Chandrani, a law student from a city college, was directed to colleges by the university. Chandrani asked the university to give him information on whether the 2008 Bar Council of India (BCI) guidelines on the course structure, faculty and student strength, curriculum set-up and upgradation of syllabus were being followed. However, his query was forwarded to the university’s affiliated colleges. Later, Chandrani appealed to the authorities over non-submission of required information.”Issues of adopting the guidelines for revised course prescribed by the BCI are within the purview of the Board of Studies (BoS) and the Faculty of Law of the university and not the colleges.” On further appeal, he was told that a three-member committee was set up by the university to discuss the issues arising out of the BCI guidelines.
“This shows the university’s inability to update their syllabus for several years. The BCI has prescribed a more practical oriented syllabus and has also structured the course well so that students get maximum benefit out of it,” he said.However, a BoS member claimed that adopting BCI norms is not possible. “Aided law colleges are already running into losses. They do not have enough teachers for existing programmes. Law colleges in the city are also dependent on the visiting faculty, who are not available after 10.30am as they go for practice in court,” the member said.Upgrading the syllabus by BCI standards is very difficult, she added.
“Colleges are worried about the unaided subjects for which they will need additional faculty,” she added. If one has to revise the course structure, the state government has to give colleges an assurance to give grants for these courses,” said an official. In fact, a meeting of law college principals was held to discuss this very issue, claimed the BoS member. “Colleges cannot take the extra burden of these new subjects prescribed by the BCI, when running the existing courses itself is a daunting task,” she added. A committee was set up to represent the issues faced by colleges in the implementation of the BCI rules of Legal Education to the minister of higher and technical education.