THE CONFUSION over the age criteria set by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to start practice will continue for at least another month until the Bombay High Court hears the BCI’s plea against two petitions filed by law students.
BCI had said it would not allow those exceeding age limits — 20 years for five-year LLB and 30 years for three-year LLB students — to practise as lawyers.
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Even as the students had demanded a stay on the BCI’s decision, the court granted four weeks’ time to the BCI to make its case. Meanwhile, it has issued notices to the BCI and the state in this regard. The court has also held that the admission process should continue as before.
This means some colleges can continue to take undertakings at the time of admission from students exceeding the age limit (20 years for five-year LLB and 30 years for three-year LLB). These students will have to agree that they will not start practice after completing the course.
The students had challenged the rationale behind the age limit criteria saying it violated their fundamental right to education. They had said the BCI’s decision had come too late in the day and should not be applicable to this year’s admissions. The petition filed by students also challenged the mandatory submission of nationality certificate.
The government has asked students to produce nationality certificates or their admissions will be cancelled. The students said it was difficult for aspirants from rural Maharashtra to apply for and procure the certificate.