Associate professor writes to chief secy, commissioner, CET, about delayed commencement of courses; receives no reply
Dr Sharmila Ghuge
CONCERNED about not being able to adhere to the University Grant Commission (UGC) guidelines and Maharashtra State University Act about mandatory teaching LLB courses for 90 days and being compelled to wrap the law portion in 45 days instead, an associate professor of a law college wrote a letter to state chief secretary and commissioner, Common Entrance Test (CET) cell, to highlight flaws in the system.
Dr Sharmila Ghuge, associate professor at Jitendra Chauhan College of Law, Vile Parle, wrote an over-twenty-five-page letter seeking that the LLB admission process be streamlined to avoid delay in the commencement of the academic year for the three-year LLB and five-year BLS/LLB courses in July every year.
“I've been teaching law students for over 20 years and my heart bleeds when I have to finish teaching a crucial subject like the Constitution of India to law students within 40 days, instead of 90—as per UGC guidelines—and these complexities are arising due to the haphazard and untimely procedure adopted by the CET cell (state of Maharashtra) for conducting the entrance exam for law course, displaying the merit list and conducting and completing the admission rounds. The entire admission process has become a nightmare for the students, their parents and institutions,” said Dr Ghuge.
Dr Ghuge, justified her concern, stating, “Since 2016 (when the CET exam was introduced) till 2022-23, the CET chart shows the time period runs up to five months till the admission process is completed from the date of the CET exam. In the year 2016-17 (CET exam was held on June 30, 2016, and the final admission list sent to the authority was on November 7, 2016) after declaring the MH-CET result, the time to complete the whole CAP process took around five months.”
“Likewise, in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 after declaring the MH-CET result, the authorities concerned revised the CAP circular and the time to complete the whole CAP process took more than four months. For 2022-23, after declaring the MH-CET result, the circular had been revised from time to time and finally took four to five months to complete the process. The academic year commenced in January 2023 for the three-year law course,” said Dr Ghuge.
Also read: Mumbai: Sonu Nigam's father's driver arrested for robbery at his home, Rs 70 lakh recovered
She continued, “Once the academic year begins, the university displays the examination schedule for the semester 1 exam, and due to the cumbersome and delayed process of the CAP rounds, the commencement of the academic year is delayed by four to five months and consequently the number of teaching days is reduced and the faculty have to squeeze in the syllabus for the law subjects.”
What rules say
As per the UGC-Guidelines for Adoption of Choice Based Credit System- 2015, ‘each semester will consist of 15-18 weeks of academic work equivalent to 90 actual teaching days. The odd semester may be scheduled from July to December and even semester from January to June'. Similarly, the Bar Council of India, Legal Education Rules, 2008, specify that ‘law courses shall be conducted in semester system in not less than 15 weeks and shall ensure 90 working days as per semester excluding examination and seminars, which has gone completely for a toss'.
“If such a system continues, imagine, the quality of advocates and judges the future legal profession would get. We have now moved out of the COVID-19 phase and there was no need to squeeze three semesters in one year at the cost of quality of legal education, harassment to the students, burden on teachers and hampering the teaching-learning excellence,” Ghuge concluded.
The letter has also been marked to the registrar of Mumbai University, Bar Council of India and even to the secretary, UGC, New Delhi. Surprisingly, none of them, replied to Dr Ghuge.
Law college principal speaks
U K Nambiar, principal, MCT Law College, Airoli said, “It is true that the delay in the CAP round admission process usually takes four to five months after the declaration of CET results, which has been happening for the past few years, adversely impacting the academic calendar for law students and even the faculties, who are strained to complete the syllabus on a war footing, which is unfair.”
Nambiar added, “We are not against CET examinations; it is a must, but the need of the hour is to have a single-window system for verifying documents and clearing the same, which does not happen today.”
He added, “The CET and university conduct superficial verification of documents and mark sheets submitted by students at the time of enrolling for CET, and the onus is on the college principals to ensure that they verify all documents thoroughly or are held responsible for any lapses in the future. Admission is granted to students on the basis of their CET scores and seats are allotted by the CET cell, but the documents (such as caste certificates) of the students are sent again for verification to the department of higher and technical education, Pune, and if they find any discrepancies, the students' admission get cancelled, which happen after the students’ academic year in law has started; and to avoid this, a single-window coordination system should be put in place, where CET, Mumbai University, the department and law college principals should be brought under one roof, so that verification and seat allotment can happen in a short time so that no student is left in the lurch.”
mid-day tried reaching out to the office of Professor Manish Joshi, secretary, and Ravi Narayan under-secretary (CPC 2), UGC, New Delhi, but they were unavailable for comment.
Manan Kumar Mishra, chairman, Bar Council of India, when contacted, said, “I am travelling", and asked that he be contacted later.
An official attached to the CET cell said, “This year onwards, we are making an attempt to streamline the entire CET and CAP round process so that the academic year can commence at least from July-end or early August for LLB courses. Therefore, we have fixed the date for the CET LLB 5-year courses for April 20 and for LLB 3-year courses for May 2 and May 3. The results will be declared within two weeks, thereafter. This year, so far, over 36,800 students have already paid fees and have been confirmed for the LLB three-year CET and around 22,520 have registered for the five-year LLB course.” The CET registration is going on till March 31.
The official added, “Even students appearing for their regular graduation programmes are allowed to appear for CET examinations. Unless the graduation results are out, the CAP round cannot start. Therefore, this year, the education minister, secretary and CET commissioner had meetings to ensure that university graduation results are declared on time.”
Asked to clarify the connection between graduation results and CET connection, the official said, “Many students score the same marks in the CET examination. In such a situation, during the admission process, we have to consider the graduation marks, and weightage is given to students with higher graduation marks to allot their preferred law college for admission.”