CIC Directs BCI to Publish Inspection Reports of Law Colleges on its Website

BCI Bar Council of India Law Insider

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: June 7, 2022 at 18:59 IST

The Central Information Commission has directed the Bar Council of India to make the inspection reports of law colleges available on its website. The CIC stated that releasing law college inspection records into the public domain will benefit the entire student community.

In an appeal filed by Prasoon Shekhar, the Information Commissioner Saroj Punhani passed the order challenging the refusal of the BCI’s Public Information Officer to publish a list of law colleges that were judged unfit after a BCI inspection or had their affiliation cancelled from 2016 to 2020.

“For the said reason, the Commission directs the FAA to place this order before their competent authority to ensure that action is expedited with respect to the upgradation of the BCI website while also incorporating the stipulations of the Commission in the H N Pathak case,” the CIC said.

It was hearing an appeal from the First Appellate Authority (FAA), which had denied the request for details of law colleges that had been declared unfit during a BCI inspection or had their affiliation cancelled.

According to the BCI’s PIO, such information about colleges existed in the form of agendas and minutes and was voluminous. The appellant was allowed to physically inspect the documents at the office.

The PIO’s decision was supported by the First Appellate Authority. Aggrieved, the appellant approached the CIC.

The FAA said before the CIC that the BCI website is being updated, and all ‘suo motudisclosures will soon be available there. He went on to say that the BCI does not make college inspection reports public because it could create unnecessary confusion and speculation amongst the stakeholders as the fact finding committee/inspection committee only renders its opinion on the question of approval etc, but the final decision is based on the findings of the Legal Education Committee and it is this final approval that is placed in the public domain indicating the status of the colleges.

In its order, the CIC also expressed significant disapproval of the FAA’s “disdainful conduct” during the hearing, as well as the FAA’s frenzied arguments with the appellant.

In terms of relief for the appellant, the CIC directed that he be allowed to inspect the accessible records pertaining to the information sought on the colleges’ status.

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