Kerala HC to MG University: Adopt Alternative to Mandatory Internships for Law Students

Deepali Kalia-

A Single Bench of Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar has directed Mahatma Gandhi University (MG) to adopt an appropriate alternative to mandatory legal internships within three weeks in a petition which sought relaxation of the compulsory internships for law students.

According to Rule 25, Schedule III of the Rules of the Legal Education, each student during the duration of their legal course should complete a minimum of 20 weeks of internship.

Advocate Amrin Fathima represented the petitioners in the case who were final year students of a Five Year integrated LLB (Hons) in the Government Law College, Ernakulam and stated that the students could only complete 12 weeks of internship during their course because none of the institutions has allowed internships since the last two years given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioners further submitted that since their course will end this academic year they will not be able to complete the remaining internship duration before the completion of their course as they have online classes before the pending examinations.

Hence, the petitioners contended that if the rules regarding the internship are not relaxed then they would not be able to complete their legal course.

Advocate Rajit, Counsel representing Bar Council of India (BCI) filed a statement expressing that the grievances voiced by the students were genuine and therefore Universities could adopt any measure they deem appropriate to satisfy the requirements of the course.

However, Advocate Ashok Cherian, Standing Counsel for the University stated that the University was not willing to adopt any other method to meet the requirements of the course as long as the rules laid down by the BCI remained intact.

However, the Court in the case observed that the rules framed by the BCI were only suggestive and mainly framed in order to promote legal education. Hence, ultimately it is up to the universities to formulate the appropriate regulations keeping in mind the standards by BCI and disposed the petition after issuing the directions.

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