‘Had it been the intention of the Bar Council that for admission to Three Year LLB Course a candidate would be required to obtain all the previous requisite degrees and certificates, such as the Secondary School Certificate and Senior Secondary School Certificate, by prosecuting a regular course, the Legal Education Rules would have specifically provided so.’
Allowing the plea of an LLB aspirant who was denied admission to three-year LLB course, the Madras High Court has held that prosecution of a regular course is mandatory only for the immediately previous qualifying certificate and/or degree.
The full bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee Justice R Subbiah and Justice Abdul Quddhose allowed the writ petition filed by GS Jagadeesh who was denied admission by Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University to the three-year LLB course only on the ground that he had cleared the Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination privately.
Jagadeesh submitted before the court that he studied up to Class VIII, after which, he discontinued the regular school education. Then he cleared the Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination (10thstandard) privately. After which, he passed the Higher Secondary Court Certificate Examination by attending regular school and obtained graduation from a college.
The writ petition was referred to the full bench after noticing the conflict between judgments of two division benches.
The full bench disagreed with the dictum in SR Deepak v. The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, which had held that a candidate who obtains the Secondary Certificate or Higher Secondary Certificate without prosecuting a regular course would be ineligible for admission to the three-year LLB course.
Justice Indira Banerjee, speaking for the full bench, observed: “There is a difference between open universities and other universities and/or boards, in that some of these open universities enable candidates, who do not have the basic qualifications, to obtain higher qualifications straightaway. By prosecuting studies through open universities, it may be possible for a candidate to obtain a Post Graduate Degree or a Three Year LLB Degree without being a graduate or to obtain a graduate degree without having the Senior Secondary School Certificate. In our view, the Bar Council of India, in its wisdom, framed the Legal Education Rules making a graduate degree upon prosecution of a regular course from a university, whose degree in Law is recognized by the Bar Council of India, in mandatory eligibility criteria.... Had it been the intention of the Bar Council that for admission to Three Year LLB Course a candidate would be required to obtain all the previous requisite degrees and certificates, such as the Secondary School Certificate and Senior Secondary School Certificate, by prosecuting a regular course, the Legal Education Rules would have specifically provided so.”
The bench further observed that once a recognized university or a recognized board issues a certificate, it is not for any other authority to question the certificate on the ground of ineligibility to obtain the certificate, until and unless the certificate is cancelled by an appropriate authority and/or by a court of law. The bench also directed the university to accommodate the petitioner in the ensuing session of three-year law course.