No Age Bar to Study Law : Bombay High Court

The Bombay high court has stayed the Bar Council of India (BCI) circular that puts an age restriction on the aspirants wanting to study law.

The circular had created a furore as it placed a limit of 20 years for the five-year course and 30 years of the three-year course. The council had also issued guidelines on the criteria for practising law in various courts. The petition had sought a stay as the Maharashtra government had declared that it would be implementing the age limit from the next academic year. The division bench of chief justice Dr Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing petitions filed by Yasmin Tavaria and a group of law students, challenging Clause 28 of Schedule III of the BCI’s Legal Education Rules of 2008. The clause imposed an age limit of 20 years on law aspirants seeking admission for the five-year Bachelor of Law degree programme and 30 years for the three-year LLB programme. The petitioners contended that the age restriction was against those who wanted to pursue law even after taking up a job and was violating Articles 14, 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The rule by BCI was an attempt to ensure that only students who are "serious" and "focused" should be able to practise law. BCI also laid down guidelines, stating the duration, which lawyers have to spent in lower courts to be eligible for practising in higher courts. While staying the circular, the bench observed: “several people wish to pursue law only as an additional qualification or to help them in their concerned job profile and not to actively practice law.”