ILS Pune is on the cusp of being a university

ILS Law College, Pune, is celebrating its 100th year. If it all goes to plan, the Pune University law school will become a private university soon.

ILS Pune to become a private university soonILS Pune to become a private university soon

Team Careers360 | January 15, 2024 | 05:18 PM IST

By R. Radhika

NEW DELHI: After 100 years as part of Bombay University and University of Pune, the Indian Law Society’s Law College, Pune, aspires to emerge as a private university in 2024. Established in 1924, ILS Law College, Pune, began its centenary celebrations in June 2023. Its director of academics and administration Vaijayanti Joshi spoke to Careers360 about plans to start a centre for distance education and a School of Arts, what a university status will change and teaching law in regional languages. Edited excerpts below.

Q. The law college is celebrating 100 years. What are your plans on taking its legacy forward?

A. In 1923, the entire legal education area was concentrated in Bombay. The Government Law College in Mumbai was the only place to study law. However, the facilities available, the nature of studies etc., were not very satisfactory. Lawyers of the Bombay High Court then decided to improve legal education and six legal luminaries established the Indian Law Society. The college initially started in the amphitheatre of the Ferguson College. Later, in 1934, the current campus of the Indian Law Society, Pune came up.

All these 100 years have been dedicated exclusively to quality legal education; it is a constant effort towards nation-building. The college has been ahead of its time. For instance, moot courts are now considered integral to legal education. In 1939, the college had started the moot court society where judges of the Bombay High Court were regularly participating. Today, it has become a common practice.

Considering the present scenario of education, that is, the National Education Policy 2020, I think ILS Pune should become a university.

Q. ILS Pune had applied for university status. Has there been progress on that front?

A. We have received a letter of intent, the committee has reviewed it, and some compliances are required, for which the process has begun. So, we are waiting for a positive response. I think, by June 2024, it will become a private university.

Also read Plans for NLU Prayagraj: A well-stocked library, connection with Allahabad High Court, new courses

Q. Why did you want to apply for this status and how will it help?

A. In an affiliated structure, the institutes have to operate in a constrained manner. Not one but hundreds of colleges are affiliated and the burden on the university is huge. It becomes very difficult for the universities because of systemic constraints, like manpower, finances and time limits.

Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic schedule is so disrupted that it has not recovered even after four years. When you are operating in a smaller field, it is always easier for you to accommodate all these difficulties and changes.

An institution gets academic freedom while designing new courses and reforming the assessment systems. The university status will also be beneficial because it facilitates national as well as international collaborations. That is what we intend to do.

Q. Will the conversion into a private university impact the fees?

A. In a private university set up, there is absence of any financial support from the state. At the same time, the institution has to invest in maintaining the quality and high standards of education, infrastructure, technology, and experienced faculty and staff members. Either the government takes the burden or the private institution has to take that burden. However, I won’t be able to say exactly how much the fee will increase. And even if the fee of ILS Pune is hiked, needy students or those with a weak financial background will be provided with adequate support through schemes and programmes.

Q Are there any new programmes in the pipeline?

A. Another course of action, apart from the university status that we are aspiring for, is launching a distance education centre. Everybody has learned lessons from the pandemic. And the world has come really close because of technology. Foreign universities offer wonderful courses and people across the world can access them. Similar kinds of things can be done with law. This is a project we would like to undertake in
near future.

Also read ‘CLAT exam in regional languages is impractical,’ says WBNUJS Kolkata vice-chancellor

Q. Research, especially in law, has been inadequate. Has ILS made efforts to increase research output?

A. Now research is not necessarily writing a PhD dissertation. It can be done in different ways. We are currently running an interesting project with the European Commission on child marriage, domestic violence and female foeticide in the Marathwada region where these cases are rampant.

In eight districts of the Marathwada region, eight law colleges were identified and 40 students from each of these colleges were involved in legal aid. Students and teachers are trained to deal with these cross-cutting and gender inequality issues. The project will go on for nearly three years and some 800 students will be trained. They will go on to train others.

Another project is on under-trial prisoners. We are trying to find out whether they are produced before the court of law, gather information about their bail, and how we can help them.

Q. Can colleges teach law in the vernacular?

A. I don’t think there is any harm in that. The only difficulty is with the reading material. I would say it’s a vicious cycle – because you are not teaching in the vernacular language, nobody is writing in the vernacular language.

In my experience, students who opt for vernacular languages are not good in Marathi either. So, in many cases, even if I teach in Marathi, the student is not able to write well in Marathi. If you ask a person to write in Marathi, more than half the words they use will be in English. That kind of vernacular writing has no point.

Then, one has to assess the exam papers. Teachers may not be able to do that as they themselves have not studied law in Marathi.

There are certain practical difficulties that would come up. If we take it up gradually, like one paper of a subject at a time, it may work. Even writing judgements in Marathi is now encouraged in Maharashtra. However, taking up the vernacular does not mean that you should not know English. It is always empowering to know more languages. A law student who knows Marathi, English and Hindi very well will do better than anyone who knows only Marathi.

Also read Most top law schools have less than 50% women students: Analysis

Q Now all institutions are being encouraged to become multidisciplinary. How do you plan to lead ILS Pune in that direction?

A. Whenever we get a chance to operate as a university, we would like to start a School of Arts. Starting a medical or engineering college may not be ideal because they are not very close to our discipline. But if you look at the components of legal studies, they are related to social sciences, like sociology, economics and political science. Language is also at the core.

So far as the NEP reforms are concerned, at this point they are not applicable to legal education. For instance, reforms like multiple entry and exit are being implemented initially for autonomous colleges. It will be done for all regular colleges eventually. We have implemented credit courses and choice-based credit systems.

Follow us for the latest education news on colleges and universities, admission, courses, exams, research, education policies, study abroad and more..

To get in touch, write to us at

Download Our App

Start you preparation journey for JEE / NEET for free today with our APP

  • Students250M+Students
  • College30,000+Colleges
  • Exams500+Exams
  • Ebooks1500+Ebooks
  • Certification12000+Certifications