By Amit Sheoran (SLS, Nagpur)
Today is the modern era. The modern era is moving ahead with fast speed and full potential. Education plays a very crucial role in the modern era. The population is increasing at an alarming rate with time. Along with the population, the competition is also increasing with time. The education department is bringing various changes to maintain balance in competition and education system and to fulfill the demands of students, Like entrance test, increasing or decreasing years of courses and by adding various exams that are very helpful for students. We can also see the example of recently notified by BCI ( Bar Council of India) that the duration of 1 year LL.M program is increased by 2 years and 1 year LL.M program will not be more longer from the next session. The Bar Council of India Legal system that means Postgraduate, executive, vocational clinical, doctoral, etc. published a BCI rules 2020 on 4 January 2021 in gazette of India that from the upcoming session the course of LL.M will be of 2 years.
Now the question arises that What is LL.M? And what are the eligibility criteria for the course of LL.M? The answer is quite simple, The Word LL.M stands for Master of law. The word LL.M is derived from the Latin term “ Legum Magister that means Master of Law. It helps the lawyer to carry in deeper knowledge in the particular area in the field of law. It helps to get advanced knowledge in a particular area of law for the advancement of career and expand the opportunities in practice. The main difference between the course is that the JD program covers the basic knowledge of the law that is very necessary for every lawyer while LL.M is focused on the particular area of law that makes the lawyer perfect in that area. The main objective of the course of LL.M is to provide deep knowledge in the particular or specific area of law for example constitutional law, Tax law and international law, etc, and many more.
Various Popular fields for LL.M
As we have read that LL.M provides deep knowledge in the specific field of law. It can differ from students to students that are based on their choice. These popular fields are given as below:-
- Constitutional Law
- Human Rights
- Family Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Criminal law
- Environmental Law
- Taxation law
- International Trade and Business Law
- Insurance law
- Corporate law and governance
These are the various famous area for the specializations of LL.M.
Eligibility Criteria for the course of LL.M
As we know every course has its criteria to take admission in that course. Similarly, LL.M has its criteria these criteria are given as below.
- The minimum qualification is a Bachelor of law that means LL.B.
- It can be any simple LL.B or integrated course that means B.A LL.B or B.B.A LL.B.
- Minimum marks should be 45% in bachelor of law but it can vary according to university demand because in some better universities it is a minimum of 55%.
- There is the various process of taking admission for LL.M, it completely depends on the criteria of the university that it take admission based on entrance test or merit-based.
- It is considered that the minimum age required to take admission is 17 years or more.
Major changes occur in the course of LL.M
There are various changes made regarding the LL.M course that will be implemented in upcoming sessions. The notification regarding these changes published in the gazette on 4 January 2021. These changes will come into effect with various rules. These rules are given below.
- The LL.M Program of 1 year shall be abolished and instead of 1 year LL.M program, there will be a 2 years LL.M program.
- The 1 year LL.M program which will be completed from a foreign university will not be considered valid and also not be equivalent to an LL.M degree in Indian. But it is not mentioned about the 1 year LL.M degree from a highly accredited foreign university. Such a type of 1-year degree with 1 year of teaching experience would make equivalent to Indian LL.M.
- There will be a common entrance test conducted for taking admission for the LL.M program and this entrance test will be bound to all the universities and they have to give admission based on merit.
Objection faced due to abolition of one year LL.M program
There are many objections faced due to abolition of one year of LL.M program. The one-year LL.M program was introduced in 2013 in India. It was considered during the introduction of One year LL.M program that, The NKC ( The National Knowledge Commission ) had recommended various measures to remap the present system towards achieving both the academic and professional excellence goal. It was followed by the round table on the legal education system that was set up by the Ministry of HRD ( Human Resource Development ) through this thing asked UGC ( University Grant Commission ) to reform and make the LL.M program for One year. At last, UGC appoints a committee of experts to discuss the reform and convert the LL.M program into One year and finally In India LL.M program became valid which is for One year. However, after 7 years of applicable of one year of LL.M program, it appears that BCI has sprung into action and said that the system of one year LL.M program failed while BCI was not the regulator for the reward of the program until now. The BCI does not provide empirical data that can convince the students that the investment for one more year would improve the quality of graduates that are being produced and can open the way for better career opportunities in the future. Without having the proper research and proper data the decision of BCI seems meaningless and useless. One of the most important facts is that BCI does not give any opportunities to the students and universities to ask their views for the changes make in the LL.M degree program. From when the New Education Policy 2020 excluded the legal study or education from the Department of Higher Education, the power to control legal education came into the hand of the Bar Council of India and it acts as a regulator of legal education. However, after the BCI gets its power regarding legal education, It was mentioned in the Advocates Act of 1961, that BCI can only ‘lay down standards of such education only after consulting with the Universities in India imparting any such education as per Section 7(1), of this act. But BCI neither constitutionally allowed nor institutionally regulate the full spectrum of legal education that is independent of universities. BCI also further incentivised LL.M that is done from other countries, as a result, the graduates returning from foreign can apply in universities as visiting faculty and can seek employment. Indian universities will be struggling for attracting the quality of candidates who are accepted by foreign universities who have completed their LL.M degrees from Indian universities. It also involves the investment for one more year. The BCI was so eager to implement 2 year LLM program.
It seems that it will affect those students whose financial condition is not much stronger. Because, if the tenure of the duration of this course increase then it is true that the fees of course also increase. It has become twice the amount which is right now. It is considered that the main reason for the objection to two year LL.M program is that those people who have low financial support, can leave this program. Sometimes we see that some parents don’t allow their child especially girls to post-graduation for the long period because of various reasons. It seems that it will affect the rights of student that is right to education because it debarred students from getting an education as per their choice. It has become too long to study because of the 5-year integrated course and 2 year LL.M course.
One of the most important things is that the Bar council of India proposed to conduct the common entrance exam for all universities even if it is private or govt. no matter. The name of the exam is such that Post Graduate Entrance Test In law ( PGCETAL ). It controls the rights of the university to conduct their exam according to their needs. It will be very difficult for all students to get better universities or colleges. The entrance exam checks the reading, writing, and reasoning aptitude of the students and it could be highly challenging for both the students and the conducting body because conducting an exam at the Indian level is not the play for a single body. It will demand more resources, investment. If the exam fails for any reason then the body will have to conduct the exam. After seeing all these difficulties it reflects that 2 years LL.M program will put a bad effect on both students and universities. It will be both long and demand for more investment. A two-year program is better somewhere because it helps to provide much time to learn more skills and apply them practically. Because if we have ample time then we can understand things in a good way and the proper manner. But it has a bad affect more than the good one.
It is true that the modern era is the era of competition. Competition is increasing with both time and population. Various education departments bring changes to maintain the balance between the students and their competition. These changes can be conducting various entrance exams, decreasing or increasing the number of seats according to their needs, and reducing or increasing the duration or tenure of the course. The same thing was done by the Bar Council of India that is it wants to implement the LL.M program for two years. It is true that if anything or any course take more time to cover it would surely give a better result. But the decision of the Bar Council of India seems meaningless and useless because it has maximum challenges and difficulties instead of better results. The BCI said that it would take a common test for admission to the LL.M program and the entrance test will be the same for all universities even if the university is private or govt. But it would be more challenging to conduct an exam at the India level by a single body. It bound all the universities to follow only one way. One more thing is that it would be more costly than the one-year program. Some students may debar from their educational rights because it will be much costlier. It will also take more time to complete the same course that can complete in one year. Today’s time is a very precious object. Once it has gone will not come again. It debarred students from many opportunities that are according to their age. If any work or any course can complete in 1 year then what is the need to increase the tenure for the same and wasting the time. This time is very precious we have to use it very carefully. It is also said to make the foreigner university LL.M degree invalid in India that are of one year. It is true that if we spent much time on any course we will get more knowledge but it does not mean that we lose our further opportunities and invest double time to learn the same thing which is possible to learn in half time. So after seeing all the benefits and disadvantages we found that it has more disadvantages as compared to its benefits. It affects students by both ways financially as well as consume more time and as a result, some student loses their future opportunities. Hence, at last, I want to say that one year LL.M program has more benefits than 2 years program. So, there is no need for two years LL.M program. And One year program of LL.M should not be abolished and it will continue so that students can enjoy their future opportunities and can achieve their targeted goal.