High court stays bar council circular imposing age limit for law courses
MUMBAI: In a major reprieve for aspiringlawstudents,theBombay high court on Friday stayed a circular issued by the Bar Council of India (BCI), prescribing different upper-age limits for 3-year and 5-year law courses.
“How can such restrictions be imposed,” the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and justice Girish Kulkarni sought to know. “In our view, acquiring knowledge is a fundamental right,” the bench added, while staying the BCI circular of September 17, 2016.
The circular revived an old clause in Legal Practice Rules, 2008, prescribing the upper age limit of 30 years for three-year law courses for general category students and 35 years for students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes. It has also prescribed upper age limit of 20 years (22 years for SC, STs and OBCs) for the five-year law course.
“A person may just want to acquire law and may not want to practice as a lawyer,” the bench said, after the counsel for BCI pointed out that the upper-age limit introduced by the circular was for the purpose of maintaining quality and standard in legal practice.