Age limit introduced in Maharashtra Law CET at BCI’s behest

The controversies appear to be never ending when it comes to the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test for law. Even as the Bar Council of India is to decide on the future of several state law colleges on September 13, an age limit has been introduced in the counselling process.

As first reported by the Times of India, the most recent iteration of the CET Information Brochure now mandates an age limit of 20 years for the 5-year course, and 30 years for the 3-year course with a relaxation for SC, ST, and OBC category applicants.

The initial CET rules notified on March 11, 2017
The initial CET rules notified on March 11, 2016
The recently changed CET Rules
The recently amended CET Rules

These changes were introduced due to a letter dated August 17 written by the Bar Council of India. The letter quotes Clause 28, Schedule III of the Legal Education Rules of 2008; this provision lays down age limits for enrolling in law course across the country.

This particular clause has been the subject of litigation in multiple High Courts across the country, eventually reaching the apex court in December last year. The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Bar Council of India (BCI) challenging the Madras High Court’s decision to quash a Bar Council of India notification which purported to do away with the age limit for LLB courses.

Age limit for LLB: Confusion continues as Supreme Court says BCI did not follow procedure

However, the apex court did not clarify the exact status of Clause 28. In other words, the jury is still not out on whether the age limit has been invalidated or not. As per BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra’s quote to ToI, the clause still stands.

What this means is that the state CET cell will now have to reexamine the applicants and identify the ones who do not pass these qualifications. So not only do law aspirants have to face uncertainty over which colleges can they attend, but now they may even be disqualified from the counselling process due to their age.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India has asked the state government to file a reply to a petition challenging the CET itself. There is a strong possibility that this won’t be the only round of litigation involved; if colleges like GLC are denied BCI accreditation, the matter will certainly hit the courts. Once again.