Draft Bill provides for public-private partnership

Every State in the country will have a world class law school to provide “justice-oriented legal education essential to the realisation of values enshrined in the Constitution.”

Drafted by the Union Law Ministry, the National Law Schools Bill, 2010 intends to establish national law schools, institutions of excellence in the field of legal education and research, in every State where no such school exists.

These will be in addition to the five Centres for Advanced Legal Studies and Research being planned in the five regions to carry out cutting-edge research in various aspects of law with a thrust on new and emerging areas.

Though the Bill provides for public-private partnership in the establishment and functioning of the schools, the central body of the schools — the Council — is dominated by government representatives. The Council is proposed to be chaired by the Union Law and Justice Minister.

The other members will be the chairpersons and directors of all the National Law Schools; chairman of the University Grants Commission; secretary-general of the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution; director of the Indian Law Institute and the National Law University; three persons nominated by the Central government from the Ministries of Law and Justice, Human Resource Development and any other ministry.

In addition, there will be a representative from the Bar Council of India, three to five persons nominated by the President from the field of law, three Members of Parliament – two from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha.

To be named after the State it is established in, the Centre and the State government will have concurrent responsibility of providing funds for setting up these institutions. The Centre will provide grant-in-aid to the States while the States will ensure acquisition of land required.

The funds given by the State governments for land acquisition will be considered as part of State's share towards the overall cost of setting up of schools.

The State government may, if it considers necessary, evolve and operationalise public-private partnership for the smooth functioning of the school. The public-private partnership will draw a partnership agreement clearly defining the expectations, mutual responsibilities, technical cooperation and reciprocity of benefits.

As per the draft Bill, the schools will prepare professionals equipped to meet the challenges and dimensions of internationalisation; and to seek path-breaking legal research to create new legal knowledge and ideas to help meet the emerging challenges in a manner responsive to the needs of the country and ideals and goals of the Constitution.

With the Chief Justice of the High Court of the State concerned as the Visitor, each school will have a Board of Governors, and a Senate. The Board of Governors will be responsible for the general superintendence, direction and control of the affairs of the school and take decisions regarding administrative policies. The Senate will be responsible for the maintenance of standards of instruction, education and examination in the school.

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