A panel of eminent academicians has backed the the human resource development ministry plan to bring legal education under the ambit of a proposed overarching higher education regulator.
Kapil Sibal’s HRD ministry now hopes to use the suggestions of the panel of independent academicians to argue against the law ministry’s objections to giving up the Bar Council of India’s control over legal education.
“If eminent academicians —including legal scholars — with unimpeachable credentials believe that legal education is best suited under a common regulator, surely that must be respected,” a senior government representative said.
The panel was set up by Sibal in 2009 and consists of experts including NR Madhava Menon — who founded the Calcutta based National University of Judicial Sciences and has played key roles in the emergence of national law universities.
The battle over legal education is particularly critical for Sibal because he may have lost an identical battle over medical education with the health ministry.
Officially, Sibal has refused to air any differences within the government over the proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) — a proposed overarching higher education regulator — and has maintained that the “government will take a decision.”
But it is a thinly veiled secret that Sibal believes all streams of higher education — including medical and legal education — should be under an NCHER autonomous from any government ministry.
His plans received a setback when the Prime Minister at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences convocation end September announced that medical education would soon receive a new regulator independent of the NCHER.