In a significant judgment, the Bombay High Court has held that those candidates who obtain a graduation degree through an open university and have not qualified their 10+2 Higher Secondary Examinations, are still eligible for admission in the three-year LLB course.
Division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice MS Karnik pronounced the judgment in June but it was uploaded recently. Court allowed the petition filed by one Shobha Buddhivant seeking admission in the first year of the three-year law course at Mumbai University.
The petitioner completed her graduation in 2005 through a distance learning course from Yashwantrao Chavan Open University, Nashik. She sought enrolment in first year of LLB at New Law College affiliated to University of Mumbai.
Her admission procedure was completed on August 18, 2011 and the next day she informed by the New Law College that she cannot be admitted due to the Rules of 2008. She was formally informed on September 8, 2015 that as per rules framed by the Bar Council of India and as accepted by the University of Mumbai, the candidate who passed Degree Examination after prosecuting studies in distance or open learning without having passed H.S.C. Examination (being the basic qualification for prosecuting degree studies) cannot be admitted to the Three Year Degree Programme.
Nitin Satpute appeared on the petitioner's behalf, Amit Sale appeared for the BCI and Rui Rodrigues appeared for the law college.
Satpute argued that the petitioner had already graduated in the year 2005 from the Open University and as per the rules prevailing then she was eligible for admission to LLB. He submitted that the Rules of 2008 will not apply to the petitioner.
Satpute relied upon the judgement of a Full bench of the Madras High Court in the case of GS Jagadeesh vs. The Chairman, to support his submission 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 or by a Court of law.
BCI's counsel Amit Sale submitted that the candidate would be rendered ineligible if he has obtained the graduation from an Open University without obtaining basic eligibility of HSC which is a recognized 10+2 pattern of education for the purpose of getting admission to the law courses.
Division bench agreed with the view taken by full bench in Madras HC and after examining the said judgment, Court observed-
"The petitioner had failed the 12th standard examination. However, as provided by the Rules and Statutes of the Act of 1989, she passed in Preparatory Course Entrance Written Test which made her eligible for admission for FYBA course in Open University. This being the position, the objection of respondent No.1 that petitioner has not passed HSC from the regular channel is of no consequence. The petitioner obtained graduation from a recognized University established under the Act of 1989.
It is unjust that the candidate concerned is still required to pass the basic eligibility of HSC from recognized Board/University despite completing graduation from Open University. As the issue has been answered in the case of GS Jagadeesh which decision is accepted and acted Bar Council of India, even the present Petition deserves to be allowed in same terms."
Thus, writ petition was allowed and the Court passed directions to admit the petitioner in the three- year law course.
Click here to download the Judgment