Legal Education In India


The study of laws, on condition they are good laws, is unrivalled in its ability to improve the students – Plato[1]

Law and legal education are interrelated concepts in modern developing societies which are struggling to develop into a social welfare state and are seeking to ameliorate the socio-economic condition of the people by peaceful means. The same condition is true in India also. It is one of the most important and crucial functions of legal education to produce good lawyers with a social vision in a developing country like India. However, legal education is not confined to the production of lawyers only. Today, the scope and ambit of legal education has got widen up and its impact can be felt in every sphere of human life. The law being the tool of social engineering and legal education can be regarded as the instrument for social design. For any society, the ripening of civilization is attributed to social awareness and consciousness of the significance of law.

The history of our own independent India if impartially written will devote more pages to the lawyers than to the votaries of any other vocation. Justice Krishna Iyer made an accepted proposition that the profession of law is a noble calling and the members of the legal profession occupy a very high status in society.[2] As the law has been considered the foundation of every civilized society, Legal education is the sine qua none. Legal education does not only create law-abiding citizens but also produces inspiring jurists, visionary judges, brilliant academicians and astounding lawyers. As the law is a means for social change and economic development these four classes of person act as a catalyst for the growth of society and reforming society to a civilized one.

The policy of legal education should be moulded to the tune of rapid contemporary changes as a result of scientific and technological development in recent years. Legal education generally refers to the education of lawyers before entering into real practice. Legal education in India is offered by the universities and by specialized law universities and schools after the completion of an undergraduate degree or as an integrated degree. Legal education derives its importance from the political, social and economic setup of the country. Legal education is that human science that furnishes beyond techniques, skills, competencies basic ideologies, philosophy for the creation and maintenance of society.[3]

Present Status of Legal Education in India

Legal education gathered momentum and acquired the most crucial role in India. When India becomes independent many people in India were poor and illiterate. The concern was to minimize the inequalities and provide all with basic amenities and with fundamental rights. With the adoption of the democratic setup, legal education was expected to bring the legal system with the social, economic and political desires of the country.[4]

Constitutional Position Regarding the Legal Scenario

The constitution of India basically laid down the duty of imparting education to the states by putting the matter pertaining to education under List II of the seventh schedule. But now this part has been dealt with under the Concurrent List in which powers had been simultaneously attributed between Union and the States.[5] It is with reference to Entries 66, 77 and 78 of List I that the Parliament has enacted laws for the regulation of legal education in India. The regulation is partaken by the two statutory bodies constituted by the sovereign bodies with reference to dealing with the matter of legal education.

These are the Bar Council of India which is concerned with the standards of the legal profession and the other is University Grant Commission which acts as an umbrella for all the institutions of higher education. Thus, the Constitution of India constituted a uniform judicial system that regulates uniformity in the legal profession. The government of India formed the All India Bar Committee to supervise the standards of legal education in India and also to implement the recommendations suggested by the Law Commission of India.

Role of Bar Council of India

The Advocate Act, 1961 which was passed by the Parliament of India by virtue of the powers entrusted under List I of the Constitution of India.[6] Under the Advocates Act an apex body namely the Bar Council of India was constituted to promote legal education and to lay down the standards of such education and scenario in consultation with the University Grant Commission. Thus, the Bar Council of India is empowered to prescribe the minimum qualification and to prescribe the other standards of legal education to be observed by such universities. The Supreme Court in the case of Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh v. State of Uttar Pradesh observed the importance of legal education and scenario observed that the responsibility of the Bar Council of India is not limited to the professional standards alone but also extends to the regulatory character and legal education as well. With the assistance of the Legal Education Committee, Bar Council of India Trust and Directorate of Legal Education, the Bar Council of India has taken major steps in the field of legal education such as follows:

  • Firstly, National Law University and Deemed University status is being set up.
  • Secondly, the publication of standard textbooks in all branches of law was started,
  • Thirdly, training for young lawyers started being provided,
  • Fourthly, to improve the legal scenario, a scheme of legal aid clinics also started.

Emerging Trend of Legal Scenario in India

Emerging Legal Scenario includes the profession which is practiced in courts, law research, law teaching and in administration in different branches where law plays a role which postulates and requires the use of legal knowledge and skill.[7] Legal education stands for the enhancement of human sensibility and injects a new sense of protecting human liberty and equality before the law.[8] The quality and standard of legal education acquired at the university are reflected through the standard of the Bar and Bench and consequently affect the legal system. Ignorance of the law is not innocence but a sin which cannot be excused.

Thus, the emerging trend in the legal scenario is not only imperative to produce good lawyers but also to create cultured law-abiding lawyers who are inculcated with the concept of human values, dignity, ethics and morality. The significance of legal education in a democratic society cannot be over-emphasised with other instruments. Knowledge of law increases as one understands the public affair. The study of law promotes accuracy of the expression and arguments as well as skill in interpretations of the written words with those of social values. It is the pivotal duty of everyone to know the law. Ignorance of the law is not innocence but a sin which cannot be excused in any way.

Role of the Supreme Court for Emerging the Legal Scenario

The Supreme Court also contributed a lot in the way of emerging the legal scenario in India. The Supreme Court in the landmark judgement in the case of Deepak Sibal v. State of Punjab[9] held that the study of law should be encouraged as far as possible without any unreasonable intervention. The Supreme Court has realized the importance of legal knowledge and tried to impress upon the state to appreciate the same. In another case of Gopalkrishna chatrath v. Bar Council of India[10], the Supreme Court observed the importance of legal scenario in the following words:

“Right to education which is available to the person for educating himself would not be at par with others. The act of denying any education whether legal or any education would be violative against the equality clause under Article 14. Education be it legal education or any other everyone is entitled to have it.”


“Legal Scenario is the cement of the society and an essential medium of change”.

Modern Legal Scenario is unable to respond to the contemporary challenges. It is obvious that except for the duration of the courses, there has been no innovation in legal education and in its scenario. The focus of legal education has remained confined to the preparation of legal professionals or servants of the corporate sector. In spite of the recommendations and reform suggested by the committee, there have been no remarkable changes made in the scenario of legal education. The Indian legal system is not prepared to face the challenges of globalization. Even for creating manpower for Bar and Bench the present legal scenario in India faces several problems. The studies in the legal sphere have been made with a theoretical focus on an age-old method. All the attempts that have been done in the name of reforms appear with hallucinations. The modern legal scenario in India requires indeed a revamping but however, restructuring needs to be devised instead of repeating earlier futile methods.

[1]  Plato, “The Laws of Dictionary of Legal Quotations”, Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, 5th Ed. 2004, p.110.

[2] Vikram Singh Jaswal “Justice V. R Krishna Iyer Concept of Social Justice”, Deep and Deep Publication Private Limited , p.1

[3] “Report of The Curriculum Development Centre in Law‖, Vol, U.G.C, New Delhi, 1990, p.12. available at  visited on January 29, 2019, at 8 pm.

[4] Anand, A.S. J., H.L. Sarin Memorial Lecture: Legal Education in India — Past, Present and Future, (1998) 1st Edition p.110

[5]  Constitution of India, List III, (Entry 26

[6]  O.N.Mohindroo v Bar Council of India, A.I.R. 1968  S.C.  888.

[7] Gajendragadkar, Committee on the Re-organization of Legal Education in the University of Delhi, 1964

[8]  Ivaturi Rama Sundari, “Evaluation of Legal Aid and Legal Literacy – Tools of Social Justice”, Ph.D. Thesis, Sri. Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam, Tirupati, Unpublished, 2012.

[9] A.I.R. 1989 S.C. 493.

[10] A.I.R.  1996 S.C. 1708.

Pranav Kaushal

Pranav Kumar Kaushal, Content Writter, Law Corner, Student B.A., LLB 7th Semester, School of Law, Bahra University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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