39% increase in the enrolments to undergraduate law courses in Maharashtramumbai Updated: Feb 09, 2018 01:03 IST
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Enrolment in undergraduate law courses in Maharashtra has increased by 39%, with more than 91% seats for the three-year LLB courses filled this academic year. However, despite the surge, half of the seats available for the five-year LLB course are lying vacant.
Data from Directorate of Higher Education (DHE) shows that in the academic year 2017-18, 12,737 students were admitted to the three-year course as against the 13,840 intake capacity of colleges. Of the 9,480 seats available for the five-year course, 4,924 were filled when the admission process came to an end. In comparison, the state saw an enrolment of 9,091 and 3,626 students in the three-year and five-year courses, respectively, in 2016-17.
The three-year LLB course is offered after graduation, while the five year integrated BLS LLB course is offered after class 12.
According to experts, the surge in enrolment is a result of the growing scope for law professionals, and a smoother admission process during this academic year. “From working for corporations to assisting senior advocates, law graduates have many career options,” said Ashok Yende, director, University Law School at the University of Mumbai. “Streamlining of admissions may also have contributed to a slight increase in enrolment,” he added.
In 2016-17, many law aspirants were unable to secure their admission despite availability of seats, thanks to the chaos and confusion around the new centralised admission process, which required the students to take a common entrance test (CET). The process was marred by multiple litigations, persistent delays and enormous confusion and stretched for almost half a year.
According to experts, the disparity in demand for the two LLB courses is an indication that despite its growing popularity, the law courses are primarily viewed as an additional qualification, rather than a standalone career pathway. “The three-year course is pursued by anyone looking to add an additional qualification. Some pursue it in combination with other professions such as chartered accountancy, while some enrol themselves after retirement. On the other hand, only a few students looking to make a career in law opt for the five-year course,” said Sunita Khariwal, principal, KC College of Law.
Ashutosh Paibhale, founder, eSquareMC, an educational and management consulting firm, and a law student himself, said that the demand for the five-year courses is concentrated in select few colleges. “For the five-year student, getting into a law college is a career decision. So the brand of the college of utmost importance, as placements, faculty and overall exposure is good only in the top colleges. The three-year students study law for knowledge or as an added qualification and hence secures admission even in the lower-rung colleges as well,” he said.
The time-gap between admission to the five-year law courses and other degree programmes such as BA, BCom and BSc could be another reason for vacancies. “The students secure admission in on of the regular programmes, as they don’t want to risk losing a year by waiting for law admissions,” said Srividya Jayakumar, principal, Thane Law College.