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In a temporary win of sorts for the seventy-odd petitioners challenging the Bar Council of India’s age limit rule, the Allahabad High Court last week issued notice to Chanakya National Law University, Patna.
CNLU, which has been given the charge of conducting this year’s Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), has also been directed to allow the petitioners to apply for the examination, disregarding the age-limit rule.
This is, of course, pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the two petitions challenging the age-limit.
The order passed by a Bench of Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Yashwant Varma also notes that the BCI is planning to file a transfer petition in a bid to club the challenges to Clause 28 pending in various high courts with the petitions in the apex court.
The Bench also went into the history of the previous challenges to the rule, noting the decisions of the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the Madras High Court. The order states,
“The Punjab and Haryana High Court has struck down the Clause 28, Schedule III Rule 11 of the Legal Education Rule, 2008 and the Madras High Court has upheld the same…
…Though, prima facie, we agree with the view taken by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, we deem it appropriate to issue notice to respondent No.4, at this stage…”
CNLU must now respond by the 23th of this month, which is the next date of hearing.
Sushmita Mukherji and Abhijeet Mukherji appeared for the petitioners, while Rajeev Mishra appeared for the BCI. The matter was initially listed before Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra, who recused from the case. Ashwani Kumar Mishra J then proceeded to hear the case, before it was transferred to the First Bench.
The petition challenges the validity of the BCI’s Clause 28, which seeks to impose an age-limit of twenty years for entry into five-year law courses and thirty years for three-year LL.B. programmes. In a notification issued in September last year, the BCI pointed out that as a result of various court decisions, the controversial provision stood revived.
Read the order: