Notwithstanding the Bar Council of India's opposition, the Higher Education and Research Bill 2010, approved by the Human Resource Development Ministry, takes away the BCI's power to control legal education.

Even as the draft Bill was under consideration, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily assured the legal profession that the BCI's interests would be protected and that he would hold discussions with the HRD Ministry to sort out the matter.

Other professional bodies

But under the Bill, to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament, not only the BCI but also 12 other professional bodies — the Medical Council of India, the Council of Architecture, the Indian Nursing Council, the Pharmacy Council of India, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Central Council of Homoeopathy, the Central Council of Indian Medicine, the Rehabilitation Council of India and the Veterinary Council of India — will be divested of their academic functions, which will be restored to the respective universities.

The universities are to be made responsible for the academic content of all courses and programmes of study including professional courses.

Limited powers

Bodies like the BCI and MCI will have the power to prescribe standards of higher education for professional practice.

They can only set requirements to determine eligibility and conduct licensing examinations to assess the competency of a student emerging from the higher education system for pursuing professional practice.

This is in line with global practices in education, said the Task Force which proposed the Bill.

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