A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking direction to the Centre and Bar Council of India (BCI) to form an Expert Committee to ascertain the feasibility of starting a 3-year Bachelor of Law Course after the 12th Standard, like Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Commerce, and Bachelor of Art Courses.

In the PIL, Upadhyay argues that the five-year duration for law courses is unreasonable, arbitrary, and violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. He contends that this extended duration is not suitable for students and imposes a significant financial burden.

The PIL, filed through AoR Ashwini Kumar Dubey, submits that the students can easily study 15-20 subjects in 3 years, i.e., 6 semesters. "Therefore, the present duration of 05 years i.e. 10 semesters for Bachelor of Law Course is unreasonable, and the inordinate duration is arbitrary and irrational and hence violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution," the plea states.

Referencing late Jurists Fali S Nariman and Ram Jethmalani, the Writ Petition emphasizes that students should be able to commence their Advocacy careers by the age of 21. It also questions the necessity of the five-year integrated course, advocating for an earlier start to legal careers.

"The former law minister, the late Sh. Ram Jethmalani, completed his law degree at the age of 17 years and started his Law firm at the age of 18 years. Was there any 5 years LLB course to bar his progress and obscure his vision? There was none. The eminent jurist and former Attorney General, late Sh. Fali Nariman completed law at the age of 21 years. There are numerous examples of prodigies not being encumbered by a rigid system which focuses more on being the jack of all rather than being the master of one," the plea states.

Upadhyay also highlights disparities with other career paths, noting that civil servants can begin their careers immediately after undergraduate studies, whereas aspiring lawyers are required to complete five years of study after the 12th standard.

The plea urges that students are being cheated, and they don’t even know it. "Bachelor of Law (LLB) course can be compared with Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.), and Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), but not with the Bachelor of Engineering or Technology. Even if it is compared, then even the Indian Institute of Technology gives a B.Tech degree in 4 years," the plea asserts.

The PIL further prays that the Central government, the Bar Council of India, and the Consortium of the National Law Universities develop a comprehensive roadmap to attract top talent to the legal profession.

"direct the Centre, Bar Council of India and Consortium of the National Law Universities to prepare a detailed roadmap to attract the best talent in the legal field in order to ensure fair trial and to secure right to speedy justice guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution," the prayer clause reads.

Cause Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Another