National Education Policy 2020 and Challenges to the Bar Council of India

AuthorN. L. Mitra,Manoj Kumar Sinha
Published date01 January 2023
Date01 January 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Asian Journal of Legal Education
10(1) 7–22, 2023
© 2022 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058221138121
National Education Policy 2020
and Challenges to the
Bar Council of India
N. L. Mitra1, 2, 3 and Manoj Kumar Sinha4
Every field of higher education, including the arts, social sciences, physical sciences, technology, and law,
as well as every form of education, whether general, professional, or technical, has something to ‘take’
from the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. This is the first time in the history of the National
Education Policy that legal education is referenced within the context of higher education. All stand-
alone universities, such as National Law Universities, must be turned into multidisciplinary universities
under Policy 2020. By 2030, all institutions that provide professional or general education will strive to
organically evolve into institutions that provide both fluidly and integrated manner. The Policy called for
the complete abolition of the affiliation system and the conversion of affiliated institutions into either
constituent colleges of the university under the direct management and control of the university or
autonomous multidisciplinary degree conferring colleges, or for a few affiliated colleges to be bundled
together through mergers and acquisitions and then converted into either autonomous institutions or
universities, and affiliated colleges in phase manner will be converted into autonomous colleges. Under
the NEP 2020, there will be a single regulatory structure for all forms of education, with the exception
of medical and legal education. However, the Policy did not establish or mention a distinct regulator for
law and medicine. Whereas the National Medical Commission (NMC), the successor to the Medical
Council of India, was established to regulate medical education, the Bar Council of India (BCI) was
established by the Advocates Act solely to establish a professional body for practising advocates (Bar
Council of India and States). If the BCI is to function as a regulatory body for legal education, it must
walk a mile in order to implement the NEP 2020 for all stages of legal education, undergraduate,
postgraduate, and research studies, as well as for all types of education, academic, professional, and
clinical skill learning. Assuming that the deadline specified in the NEP 2020 is final and that a new shape
of education is required under the NEP, BCI will need to emphasize what needs to be done and then
how such changes in all levels can be accomplished within the timeframe!
Corresponding author:
Manoj Kumar Sinha, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India.
1 National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
2 National Law University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
3 Legal Education Committee, Bar Council of India, New Delhi, India.
4 Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, India.
8 Asian Journal of Legal Education 10(1)
The National Education Policy 2020 (hereinafter referred to as NEP2020, or the Policy)5 establishes a
comprehensive programme of radical change for the entire educational system in the country, from
general education to technology education, from professional education to vocational education, and at
all levels from pre-primary to post-doctoral research. The admirable goal is to elevate India’s education
system from the last bench in a global classroom to the first bench during the next 10 to 20 years. The
Policy echoed many sets of ‘often spoken’ vocabulary used in past Education and Technology Committees
to advocate for a significant revamp of the country’s education system. The article examines what
authorities in the legal profession should do if such a comprehensive revamp of legal education, including
professional legal education, is required to be completed within the scope of NEP 2020 and on time!
For nearly 150 years, the institutional framework of higher education in India has remained mostly intact
since the introduction of the British model. Postgraduate and research studies were conducted at
universities, while undergraduate studies were conducted at university-affiliated colleges. The NEP 2020
mandated that all universities be multidisciplinary and that the affiliation system be eliminated. By 2030,
the suggested re-structuring schedule must be completed.6 Because professional legal education is
delivered through higher educational institutions and is also considered a component of general education,
higher educational institution restructuring will have a significant impact on professional legal education
as well. This article will examine four reform schedules in order to illustrate how such reforms will be
implemented in a planned manner. The National Policy proposed a 360-degree reform that included the
following: (a) a new regulatory framework under a single umbrella organization; (b) structural reforms
to the higher education delivery system; (c) content reforms to make academic courses more multi-
disciplinary; multi-skill learning; and (d) rethinking the purpose of higher education and reforming the
teaching–learning methodology and procedure. The mission is impossible, as there is no work schedule
or timeline in place except for the final report completion of the assignment to be shown by 2030 and the
ultimate outcome to be attained by 2035 and reported in the review report by 2040.
Common Framework for Regulation
A Single Regulatory System
The Policy correctly stated that ‘for decades, higher education regulation has been excessively heavy-
handed; much too much has been attempted to be regulated with far too little benefit’. The regulatory
system’s mechanical and disempowering nature has created a slew of fundamental difficulties, including
a high concentration of power in a few entities, conflict of interest among these agencies, and a
concomitant lack of accountability. The regulatory framework requires a fundamental revamp in order to
‘re-energize and sustain the higher education industry’. It has been proposed that the entire system of
higher education be consolidated under a single umbrella entity called the Higher Education Commission
of India (HECI)7, with four-dimensional responsibilities for regulation, accreditation, grant distribution,
and academic standard setting. There will be four verticals, one for each of these four duties, each
5 The NaTioNal educaTioN Policy, 2020, available at, visited on 19 April 2022.
6 Id. at 5.22, 5.23, 23
7 Id. at 18.2, 47.

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