The High Court of Judicature at Patna
The High Court of Judicature at Patna
Litigation News

Can prospective law graduates apply for post requiring law degree? Patna HC answers in plea by CNLU students

Aishwarya Iyer

The Patna High Court recently dismissed a petition filed by final year students of the Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna challenging an advertisement issued by the Bihar Public Service Commission for the post of Assistant Prosecution Officer.

The petitioners wanted to apply for the said post. However, the advertisement specified that applicants must be law graduates on the date of application. The cut-off date prescribed thus preceded the date on which the petitioners would have obtained their law degree.

Whereas the last date for application was March 6, the petitioners were due to take their final exams only in April.

The petitioners, however, based their case on the fact that they would be law graduates by the time of appointment. In this regard, it was pointed out that the relevant rules only prescribed that the Assistant Prosecution Officer must be a law graduate.

Pertinently, these rules were silent as regards the stage of selection when the applicant must be a law graduate. In other words, the petitioners highlighted that the minimum qualification of being a graduate of law was for the purpose of “appointment”, but not a prerequisite for “application”.

Thus, it was argued that the advertisement ought not have restricted prospective law graduates from applying for the post of Assistant Prosecution Officer.

Justice Madhuresh Prasad, however, held that the petitioners had no enforceable claim. In the absence of any cut-off date in the Rules, the Court found that the date would be as decided by the government. In this regard, the Court relied on the case of Bhupinderpal Singh & Ors v State of Punjab & Ors. Justice Prasad said,

"... the Apex Court in the case of Bhupinderpal Singh (supra) has held that the cut off date on which the eligibility requirement is required to be satisfied by the candidate is either the date appointed by the relevant Service Rules, and if there be no cut off date appointed by the Rules, the same may be appointed for this purpose in the Advertisement calling for applications."
Patna High Court
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