High court stays bar coun­cil cir­cu­lar im­pos­ing age limit for law cour­ses

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Kan­chan Chaud­hari

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.

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