The Clause 28 effect: Now, CLAT to have age limit (again?)

Aditya AK October 26 2016

Pursuant to the Bar Council of India’s intentions of imposing an age limit for those who want to study law, next year’s edition of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) will also have such a restriction.

The news, sourced from the Hindi edition of the Hindustan Times, was first shared by CLAT mentor Rajneesh Singh in a Facebook post.

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The article says that CLAT 2017 will have an age bar of twenty years for candidates, as per a decision taken by the CLAT Core Committee yesterday.

The Registrar’s office of Chanakya National Law University, Patna has confirmed the same.

CNLU will become the tenth national law university to conduct the annual exam, likely to be held on May 14 next year.

Eighteen NLUs will be covered under the 2017 exam, with Maharashtra Law University, Nagpur the latest entrant to the fold of CLAT law schools.

This is not the first time the Committee has decided to impose an age limit for the exam. RMLNLU, Lucknow, which conducted the 2015 edition, had made a similar announcement two months before that exam. However, the age limit was successfully challenged in the Allahabad High Court, and the challenge to that decision was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

It is pertinent to note that the High Court’s decision hinged on the fact that the BCI had withdrawn Clause 28, the provision that prescribes the age limit. That fact has changed since then, with the Madras High Court ruling the procedure for withdrawal of the Clause to be ultra vires. As a consequence, as the BCI pointed out last month, the age-limit rule stands “revived”.

That could well be a determining factor if any challenge to the CLAT Core Committee’s decision is made in the courts.

A similar age limit was also announced for law colleges that come under the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test for law a few months ago. That decision is currently facing a challenge in the Bombay High Court.

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