Recently the hon’ble Apex Court dismissed the petition filed by Bar Council of India which questioned the decision of the Madras High Court. The Madras High Court had quashed the notification issued by the BCI that imposed age limit to pursue LLB course. Justice J S Khehar and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman agreed with the verdict of the high court where the court set aside the notification of BCI that altered some of the provisions of rules dealing with Standards of Legal Education. The High Court had stated that BCI failed to comply with the amendment process as specified under the rules. The rule was amended imposing age limit to get admission for LLB course.
Earlier, BCI had added Schedule III (28) to the Standard of Legal Education Rules under the Advocates Act, 1961. According to this new clause, to get admission to 5 year law course the candidate should be less than 20 years of age and for 3 year course, the age of the candidate should be less than 30 years with permissible relaxation for reserved category. The new amendment led to many controversies and debates. As a result, a petition was initiated before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana where the court ruled that the new provision was arbitrary and the BCI does not have the legislative competence to enact such law.
Later a one man committee was constituted in 2013 and the committee stated that the provision violated Article 14 of the Constitution. In consequence of that BCI deleted that rule in 2013 itself. The Madras High Court also quashed the notification stating that the BCI contravened the process of amendment in reply to another writ petition. Moreover, the High Court of Bombay ruled that Clause 28 under Schedule III was non existent. The BCI challenged the order of High Court of Madras. Interestingly, the Supreme Court asked BCI to follow the correct procedure when withdrawing a clause added by amendment.
Adv. Jewel Panicker