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HRD Ministry appointed to Justice R.C. Chopra

The Bar Council of India and the Human Resources Development Ministry are at loggerheads over the 12-member Round Table set up by the HRD Ministry to evaluate legal education in India. The Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Dr. S N P Sinha, claimed in a press conference that the Round Table is an attempt on the Ministry's part to encroach on the BCI's authority and part of a hidden agenda to scrap the BCI altogether. Dr. Sinha accused various ministries of trying to abolish the Bar Council due to its opposition to the entry of foreign law firms into India.

The 12-member committee set up by the HRD Ministry will advise and make recommendations on transforming the legal education system, especially curriculum design and delivery, as well as the examination system. The committee's agenda is a further source for ire for the BCI, which has already set up its own committee to revamp the syllabus for legal education. The BCI committee is headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice A P Mishra, and consists of a sitting High Court judge, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and former NLSIU director, Dr. N L Mitra.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam finds himself in a peculiar position, considering that he is also a part of the HRD Ministry's committee. SILF President, Lalit Bhasin, Amarchand Mangaldas Partner, Pallavi Shroff, human rights lawyer, Nithya Ramakrishnan, Senior Counsel, Joseph Vellapally, former Advocate General for Chattisgarh, Ravindra Srivastava and former Delhi High Court judge, Justice R.C. Chopra are some of the other committee members. Eminent academicians, Professor B.S. Chimni of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Director of the National Judicial Academy and former Director of the National Law School of India University, Dr. G. Mohan Gopal, former Directors of the National Law School of India University, Dr. A. Jaya Govind and Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon, and former Director of the Indian Law Institute, K. Chandrashekharan Pillai constitute the rest of the committee. Incidentally, the Human Resources Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, is also a Senior Counsel in the Supreme Court.

HRD Ministry appointed to Justice R.C. Chopra
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