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HC grants interim stay on BCI circular on age limit for law aspirants

The Bombay High Court granted interim stay on the circular issued by Bar Council of India (BCI) imposing age limit for aspirants seeking admission to law degree programmes.

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing two petitions challenging the age limit imposed on law aspirants by the BCI.

The limit was first introduced by BCI in 2008 by which the maximum age for seeking admission to the five-year Bachelor of Law degree programme (which is offered after class 12) was fixed at 20 years and that for the three-year LLB programme (offered after graduation) at 30 years.

The High Court while staying the circular observed that there are several people who wish to pursue law only as an additional qualification or to help them in their concerned job profile and not to actively practice law.

The bench will hear the petitions after four weeks.

The rule was an attempt to ensure that only students who are “serious” and “focused” should be able to practise law.

The petitioners however contended that the age criterion went against those who wanted to pursue law even after joining some other work.

In 2011, the age limit clause was quashed by Punjab and Haryana High Court. Subsequently in 2013, the BCI issued a notification announcing that the rule is no more valid.

However, in 2015, the Madras High Court held the notification invalid. The judgement was upheld by Supreme Court as well.

Following this, the Maharashtra government this year asked all law colleges to keep in mind the age limit following which the petitions were filed in high court.

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