As per a recent circular issued by the Bar Council of India, the rule stipulating maximum age limit for law courses across the country stands revived, pursuant to recent court rulings.
Up to academic year 2008-2009, there was no upper age limit for admission to the three-year B.L. degree course. An upper age limit of 21 years was prescribed for admission to the 5-year integrated B.L. degree course.
However, this age limit was not applicable to candidates belonging to THE SC/ST community. In 2008, the Bar Council of India framed the Rules of Legal Education, 2008.
Clause 28 of Schedule III of the 2008 Rules stipulates age limit for admissions to 3-year and 5-year law courses.
As per this clause, the upper age limit for admission in LL.B 3-year course is 30 years and for LL.B 5- year course is 20 years.
A three-member committee was formed by the Supreme Court in Bar Council of India v. Bonnie FOI Law College and others, SLP No. 22337 of 2008. The committee had submitted its report on October 6, 2009, in favour of upholding the Rules of Legal Education, 2008. This was accepted by the Supreme Court.
However, newly-elected Bar Council members, without considering the history and background as to incorporation of the 2008 Rules, appointed S. Prabakaran as a one-man committee to re-consider the age restriction clause, incorporated in Clause 28.
Prabakaran then recommended the deletion of the clause, observing that the age restriction violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The Bar Council of India, hence, withdrew Clause 28, Schedule III of the Rules of Legal Education, 2008, by passing a notification, dated 28.09.2013.
On 09.08.2013, the Bar Council of India took two decisions regarding Legal Education Rules and role of the Committee. Vide Resolution No.173/2013, the Bar Council of India took a decision to place the report of the inspection reports before the Legal Education Committee, on the ground that the power to grant or refuse approval of law colleges lies with the Legal Education Committee.
However, the BCI accepted the Prabakaran report, without any consultation with the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India. The notification was hence quashed, on the ground of it being passed without following the prescribed procedure. You may read the LiveLaw article here.
An appeal against the High Court order was dismissed by the apex court in December last year. “Resultantly, after the order of the High Court and the apex court, the rule under Clause 28 of Legal Education Rules 2008 has been restored,” the circular stated.
Read the Circular here.