The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Bar Council Of India (BCI) on a petition filed by two law aspirants challenging the maximum age limit of 20 years for taking admission to the 5-year integrated law degree.
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde and Advocate on Record Zoheb Hossain (both appeared pro-bono) argued that Clause 28 of Legal Education Rules, 2008, which restored the maximum age limit of 20 years for taking admission to the 5-year integrated law degree, was arbitrary and unlawful. Advocate Hegde submitted that the new stipulation violates the fundamental rights of aspiring law students under Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution.
After hearing, a two-judge bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Arun Mishra issued notice to the BCI, returnable in four weeks. Though the bench has not stayed the operation of the rule, gave liberty to the petitioners to mention the matter for interim relief, if necessary. The petitioners submitted that conflicting judgments were passed by different high courts in writ petitions challenging the validity of Clause-28 and, therefore, the interference of Supreme Court is necessary to ensure that there is certainty in the lives of students and consistency and uniformity in the approach of the BCI in this matter.
The petitioners pointed out that the said clause was held to be ultra vires the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in Rajan Sharma v. The Bar Council of India and the High Court of Bombay in Yasmin E Tavaria v. Union of India, respectively. However, a conflicting view has been taken by the High Court of Madras in M. Santhosh Antony Vareed v. The Registrar, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, wherein the high court upheld the upper age limit of 30 years for admission to the 3-year bachelor degree course in law.
About the author: PCI Babai is a Delhi based practicing hack, a cynic to core.”