‘However, certificate will not enable them to enrol as advocates’

The High Court of Karnataka, as a one-time measure, has allowed 86 candidates, who lacked eligibility to join law courses, to pursue the course as well as receive the law degree.

The court made the concession on Thursday despite dismissing the candidate’s petitions questioning the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) Rules, which had imposed certain restrictions on admitting candidates possessing certificates through the distance education mode.

Petitioners Deepika Bhat S. and others questioned the BCI’s authority and legality of the rule, which states that candidates who have obtained 10+2 or graduation/post-graduation certificates through the open university system directly without having any basic qualification for pursuing such studies, are not eligible for admission to law courses.

Justice Anand Byrareddy, who upheld the rules and dismissed their petitions, however, noticed that the petitioners had continued the courses on the conditional interim orders passed by the High Court.

Though the judge made it clear that the petitioners, aged between 17 and 53, could not claim legal right over the advantage or benefit secured from the interim orders as their petitions were now being dismissed, he termed their situation “unfortunate”.

“This misery could have been avoided if the interim orders had been refused at the first instance [by the High Court],” the court observed.

Pointing out that the university, in the normal course, should cancel the degree certificates given to the petitioners who have already completed the course, and debar others who are in the process of pursuing the courses, the court, however, said that “it cannot be ignored that several petitioners have completed the courses successfully”.

‘Noble effort’

“It is a gallant and a noble effort, but sadly fruitless. But, at the same time, it is seen that all the petitioners were not pursuing their career in law. Though the certificate will not enable them to enrol as advocates, it will possibly help them advance their career prospects in other ways,” the court said.

Therefore, the court said, it would not only serve the ends of justice but would not in manner lower the standards the BCI endeavours to maintain in the legal profession, if the petitioners are conferred with the LLB degree on successful completion of the course albeit with total bar against enrolment as advocates.

The court said this condition should be indicated promptly in their degree certificate, while making it clear that this extraordinary measure was extended only to the petitioners.

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