Should There Be A Three Year LLB Course? Students, Experts Offer Alternate Options

Should There Be A Three Year LLB Course? Students, Experts Offer Alternate Options

The petition also mentioned that it is easily possible for students to complete their course in a duration of three years and that there is no reason to stretch the course.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Friday, April 19, 2024, 11:56 AM IST
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Should There Be A Three Year Bachelor Of Law Course? Students, Advocates Answer | Unsplash

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to start a three year Bachelors of Law course after 12th, instead of the current integrated course which offers the degree after a period of 5 years, according to media reports. 

The petitioner, Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay said in the petition that the ‘prolonged’ period of the integrated course is ‘unreasonable and irrational’ and therefore seeked the direction of the Supreme Court as well as the Bar Council of India (BCI) to determine the starting of a Bachelor course.

As per media reports, the petition also mentioned that it is easily possible for students to complete their course in a duration of three years and that there is no reason to stretch the course. According to it, the five year course also puts an unwanted financial burden on the students and is also not in favor of them. 

Students and experts, however, held a different opinion regarding the same. They believe that a degree of such professional caliber cannot be completed in a mere span of three years. Students also offered various solutions for the same, encompassing post graduate degree to internships. 

Students, experts disagree with the petition

“We cannot equate law courses with degrees like Bachelors of Arts (BA) and BCom because these are not professional courses. Implementing a three year Bachelor's degree will further mean changing the content of the LLB course,” said Advocate Floyd Gracias. He further added, “Instead of changing the course structure, the goal should be to equip students with required skill sets. We, as professionals, cannot teach them the basics of law. The standard of law course should itself be uplifted then, considering the large influx of law graduates in the society and high competition in the market.”  Gracias is a counsel at Supreme Court of India and advocate at Bombay High Court.

Students offer alternate solutions

Pratik Tomti, who is a third year student at Government Law College, Mumbai said that he doesn’t agree with the thoughts of the petitioner. He continued, “I think the whole issue would be resolved if BCI declares LLB as post graduate degree.” Further explaining the importance of the five year course, Tomti continued, “When students study different subjects in their graduation years, or in intergated law course like BALLB (ARTS), BBALLB ( Business Administration), BCOMLLB (Commerce), etc they are able deal with cases of those domains with ease, they don't find it difficult to understand the practical nuances of subject matter issues.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Bhushan Walunj, LLM student at Mumbai University said that streamlining the LLB programme would undervalue the aspirations of future lawyers. “Instead, let's prioritize furnishing them with practical expertise by instituting compulsory, full-time internships. Analogous to medical residencies post-MBBS, the successful completion of these internships should serve as a prerequisite for advocate registration,” he said. 

Satyam Surana, student at London School of Economics who also practiced law in India for two years said that the first two years in the law school wherein the students are taught basic concepts are crucial for their foundation. He said, “if the foundation is not clear, it will be difficult for students to actually understand the core concepts. Also, students always have the option to do a three year law course after their graduation.”

"I don't think it is possible to cover all the subjects in three years," said Mahathi Cholasamudram, third year student at The University Law College, Bangalore University. She further advocated for the possibility of a four year course instead. She said, "Instead of five years, we may look at the possibility of a four year course like engineering."

Another student, Pranshu Agarwal from Christ University, Bangalore mentioned that the five year course is helpful in a long run. He added, "We get to learn a lot more about law in the form of electives which cannot be the case in a three year course. Also, the three year course LLM course is already an option for those who want to pursue law after graduation."

5-year course tough on middle class

However, Roshni Vijayvargiya from Rizvi Law College agreed with the idea of a three year course and said, “As a 5 year law student , I've noticed we start the important law subjects after the second year, so the BA and BBA subjects seem unnecessary and take up a lot of time. Waiting until we're 23 to graduate is too long, especially because by then many students of other fields  have already started their careers or pursued a master's degree. Plus, the cost of a five-year program can be tough for middle-class families."

Upadhyay has requested an early hearing at the Supreme Court since the admissions for the new academic year will start in May/June.

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