Bombay HC Issues Notice to BCI and Mumbai University in PIL Seeking Enforcement of Mandatory 75% Attendance in Law Schools

Read Time: 09 minutes


The plea highlighted the existing practice of allowing students with zero attendance to sit for exams, which undermines the quality of legal education and the future of the legal system

In a significant development concerning the quality of legal education, the Bombay High Court has issued notices to the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the University of Mumbai in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the enforcement of a mandatory 75% attendance requirement in law colleges.

The PIL, filed by a full-time law faculty member at Jitendra Chauhan College of Law affiliated with the University of Mumbai,, highlighted the alarming drop in attendance to as low as 10% by the third academic year due to students engaging in internships.

The petitioner, Dr. Sharmila Ghuge, brought attention to the deteriorating standards of legal education. Despite stringent regulations mandating 75% attendance, the actual attendance often falling short, raising concerns about the quality of education being imparted.

The PIL drew attention to Ordinance 6086, which mandates a minimum attendance of 75% for law students. The plea stated, “According to Ordinance 6086, there is a strict stipulation mandating a minimum of 75% attendance during lectures, practical sessions, and tutorials for all learners of the University of Mumbai. However, it has been observed that the actual attendance of students in various law colleges fall considerably short of this requirement, often ranging between 0% to 30%. ln many instances, not even 10% of students manage to achieve the mandatory 75% attendance mark.”

It was observed that students' attendance frequently falls below this requirement, often due to internships or employment commitments. Despite the regulations, colleges fail to take adequate action against defaulters, exacerbating the issue.

The petitioner acknowledged the importance of internships but called abstaining from classes for the same unethical, stating that, “Internship is an important and integral part of legal education. Internship provides a platform to the students to learn law in practice and gain hands on experience under the expertise of lawyer/firms. However, pursing internship by abstaining from classroom lectures, practical / tutorials is extremely unethical on part of the students and illegal on part of all colleges and University to indirectly support the same by not taking any action against the defaulters.”

The petitioner also highlighted the guidelines set by the Bar Council of India regarding internships, emphasising that internships should not be pursued during the academic session. However, students often engage in internships throughout the year, adversely impacting their academic performance. Additionally, the University of Mumbai's regulations on attendance are not effectively enforced, allowing students to bypass the mandatory requirement.

It was also alleged that despite representations made by the petitioner to the concerned authorities, including the University of Mumbai and the BCI, no concrete actions have been taken to address the issue of non-compliance with attendance requirements.

The plea also highlighted the existing practice of allowing students with zero attendance to sit for exams, which undermines the quality of legal education and the future of the legal system. “Such system is in place for many years which has decayed the teaching learning process and the same is totally against the high hopes of the qualitative education and the future of the legal system of this country,” it further stated.

The petitioner requested the court to issue directions as follows:

  • Issuance of a Circular for Compliance: The University should promptly issue a comprehensive circular to all law colleges, emphasising strict compliance with the attendance ordinance. This circular should detail attendance requirements, consequences of non-compliance, and monitoring procedures.
  • Constitution of a Monitoring Committee: A dedicated committee, comprising experienced individuals, should be established to ensure consistent adherence to attendance regulations. This committee would review attendance records, assess marking methods, and engage with faculty and students to address concerns.
  • Secure Attendance Marking Methods: Colleges should adopt secure methods like biometrics or smart cards to prevent fraudulent attendance practices.
  • Quality Teaching and Student Engagement: Faculty should enhance teaching quality through training, innovative methods, and creating an engaging classroom environment to promote regular attendance.
  • Transparency in Defaulter Lists: Law colleges should maintain and update lists of attendance defaulters, making them accessible to stakeholders via college websites and notice boards.
  • Enforcement of Attendance Requirements: Strict enforcement of attendance requirements should be ensured, with consequences for non-compliance, including exclusion from exams.
  • Monitoring Internship Periods: Internships should align with Bar Council guidelines and be monitored to ensure compliance, balancing academic and practical training.
  • Mandatory Final Semester Internship: Proposal for a 3-4 months' mandatory internship in the final semester to balance classroom teaching with practical learning, similar to other professional courses, to enhance the overall educational experience.


Cause Title: Dr. Sharmila Ghuge v University of Mumbai