Punjab and Haryana HC upholds refusal to enroll law grad who scored below 45%

Punjab and Haryana HC upholds refusal to enroll law grad who scored below 45%

Rintu Mariam Biju

The High Court of Punjab and Haryana recently declined to grant relief to a law graduate who did not obtain the requisite 45% score in her LL.B. course to enroll with the State Bar, while also observing,

“… it is not possible to accept the request of the petitioner only on the ground that her career would be ruined and she would not be able to practice as an Advocate in courts of law.”

The Court passed the order in view of Section 7 of the Legal Education Rules, 2008, which clearly states that the minimum marks secured by a person should be 45% in order to get admitted into the rolls of a Bar. As noted in the order passed by Rajiv Narain Raina,

There is a bar on the Bar Council of India placed by itself not to entertain applications for a licence to candidates who secure a percentage of marks below 45% in the General Category.”

It was also observed that a clarification resolution was issued so that persons scoring below 45 % in his/her graduation but scoring more than 45% marks at the Post Graduation level are permitted to apply for licence at the Bar. However, this relaxation was not applicable to the petitioner as she had secured only 44.7% in her graduation and 40 .87% in her post-graduation in law.

The State Bar Council also pointed out earlier cases where persons who did not possess the minimum qualifying marks were refused enrolment. The Court observed that the case of the petitioner is “identical” to those instances.

The petitioner has also argued that if the University perceived that she was fit enough to attend its three-year LLB course regardless of her marks, then the Bar Council should also allow her to practice law. To this, Justice Raina responded by saying,

“I am unable to be persuaded to accept this argument as the purposes of admissions to the LLB course and admission to the rolls of Bar Council are not one and the same thing. It is open to the petitioner to make a career in teaching etc and use her degree elsewhere but the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and the Bar Council of India is rightly not prepared to concede to the request.”

The Court also noted,

Bar Council had notified the Institution not to depart from the prescribed norms and therefore, the petitioner cannot be heard to succeed on the ground that she is not at fault.

In view of these observations, the Bench dismissed the plea.

[Read the order here]

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