The Delhi High Court on August 13, 2019, in the case of Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Education & School of Law & Anr. v. Directorate of Higher Education & Ors., has held that the Rules of Bar Council of India regarding approval of Colleges and the Rules/Policy laid down by the Directorate of Higher Education have to be read in harmony. Moreover, the temporary approval granted by the BCI cannot be used to challenge the non-grant of NOC by the Directorate of Higher Education (DoHE) when the conditions laid down in the temporary approval have not been complied with.
In this case, a writ petition was filed by the Petitioner College against the non-grant of NOC by the DoHE for the academic year 2019-20. The Petitioner had asked for a NOC in order to continue running its BBA LL.B. course with an intake of 180 students.
The Petitioner submitted that it had received permission from both the Bar Council of India and the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) for running a BBA LL.B. course with an intake of 180 students for the academic year 2019-2020. It was also argued that the action of the DoHE is unreasonable because it had given the NOC for the same course in the academic year 2011-12 and the current refusal goes against the permission already granted by the BCI.
The Petitioner also submitted that it is settled law that in the case of a possible conflict between the rules and regulations for granting approval, prescribed by the apex body of the statutory body governing the said discipline, and rules and regulations as stipulated by the State government, the rules and regulations for granting approval prescribed by the apex of the statutory body must prevail.
It was further argued that the provisions of the Central Statute and a State Statute are inconsistent and repugnant to each other, the Central Statute has to prevail over the State Statute and denial of affiliation by the State University on the grounds that are inconsistent with those enumerated in the Central Statute have to be inoperative. Therefore, DoHE is precluded from imposing any condition for grant of NOC to the petitioner college which is inconsistent with the provisions made under the Advocates Act, 1961 read with the Rules of Legal Education 2008.
On the other hand, DoHE, submitted that the petitioner college is not entitled to an intake of 180 students in the BBA LL.B. course as sought by it, for the reason that it does not satisfy the minimum space requirements as stipulated in the applicable policy guidelines issued by them.
It argued that BCI only assesses and lays down the minimum space requirement and the prescription by the respondent No. 1 will be binding, with regard to the minimum requirement of space. This point regarding prescription of space requirement and the paucity of space in the Petitioner College to accommodate 60 more students was also agreed upon by the BCI and GGSIPU.
The court refused the claim of the Petitioner College by noting that the BCI’s approval was temporary and was contingent on a condition that has not been fulfilled by the College. It observed that rules of the BCI itself stipulate that the space requirements have to be in accordance with the regulations as guided by the respective authority of the University under the regulations guided by the UGC and the Rules of 2008 of the BCI, which in the present case, are not complied with.
The court also refused to side with the cases cited by the Petitioner by opining that the same were wholly misplaced in the facts and circumstances of the instant case inasmuch as the Bar Council of India Rules of Legal Education Part IV and the Policy Guidelines of the DoHE have to be read in harmony and are not in conflict with each other.
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