Another challenge to BCI’s age limit in Bombay High Court

Aditya AK October 5 2016
GLC Mumbai

Government Law College, Mumbai

A week after part-time GLC faculty member Yasmin Tavaria challenged the Bar Council of India’s age limit rule in the Bombay High Court, a similar petition has been filed in the same High Court.

The petition, filed by a group of Mumbai-based law students collectively known as the Student Law Council, challenges Clause 28 of Schedule III of the BCI’s Legal Education Rules of 2008 as violative of Articles 14, 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The challenge is also closely related to the recently held Maharashtra Law CET, through which a number of students have already attained provisional admission to various colleges. However, thanks to the newly revived age limit, several students - particularly those pursuing the three-year course – now find themselves left in the lurch.

One of these students is 40-year-old Rajat Prabhakar, who secured provisional admission in Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal’s Jitendra Chauhan College of Law in Mumbai. The petition states that since the Bombay High Court had held the age limit to be unconstitutional, in a petition filed by Tavaria in 2009, colleges in Maharashtra were bound by this decision.

It further challenges the requirement of a Certificate of Nationality for admission, after the CET cell issued a notification to that effect last month.

The matter came up for hearing two days ago, before a bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak. The bench held that all the admissions granted as per the first and second rounds would be subject to the outcome of the other writ petition, filed by Tavaria.

Advocate Pradnya Talekar appeared for the petitioner.

The very same bench, in Tavaria’s petition, issued notice and granted the BCI four weeks to make its stance clear on Clause 28. The next date of hearing in that case is November 25.

The present petition goes on to state that even if the Constitutionality of the BCI’s age limit is upheld, the rule cannot be applied for this academic year, due to the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

“…no requirement regarding age-limit as a criterion for eligibility to the law course was made known either through Government Resolution regarding the eligibility criterion or the CET Cell Brochures with regards to the admission process or any circular by the BCI anytime before 17.09.2016, i.e. after II CAP rounds for allotment of law college seats to students who have cleared the CET…”

The petition also notes that the Madras High Court had held the BCI’s withdrawal of Clause 28 to be bad in law.

“The Madras High Court judgment has not considered the issue of intelligible differential and violation of Article 14 and is at the same time per-incurium being in ignorance of the fundamental right to legal literacy.”

The next date of hearing in the matter in November 28.

Read the petition:

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