The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant attendance relaxation to a second year student of the LL.B course of Faculty of Law, University of Delhi (DU) who had missed college due to her pregnancy.
While Justice Rekha Palli noted that "there may be justification for the petitioner’s inability to attend regular classes", she ruled that the relief cannot be granted in light of the Rules of Legal Education of the Bar Council of India as well as earlier decisions of the High Court.
The Petitioner, Ms. Ankita Meena had sought a direction to DU to permit her to appear in the IV semester LL.B Examination. She could not meet the requisite 70% attendance criteria, having missed almost 2 months of the semester due to her pregnancy.
She had now sought relaxation relying on Rule 2 (9) (d) of Ordinance VII of Chapter III of Delhi University which states, "In the case of a married woman student who is granted maternity leave, in calculating the total number of lectures delivered in the College or in the University, as the case may be, for her course of study in each academic year, the number of lectures in each subject delivered during the period of her maternity leave shall not be taken into account."
The Court, however, noted that the position had been settled by a decision by the Division Bench of the Court in the case of University of Delhi & Anr. v. Vandana Kandari & Anr., wherein the Court had held that maternity leave cannot be put in a different compartment for the purposes of relaxation of attendance.
The Court further highlighted the fact that LL.B. is a "a special professional course where no relaxation can be granted contrary to the Bar Council of India Rules, which specifically governs the field."
It then dismissed the Petition, observing, "In my considered view, once Rule 12 of Rules of Legal Education of the Bar Council of India prescribes a mandatory attendance of 70% in each semester of LLB, no reliance can be placed on Rule 2 (9) (d) of Ordinance VII of Chapter III of Delhi University, which is a general provision that does not deal with a professional course like LLB. "