Rajasthan High Court: In a PIL filed by the first year students of NLSIU, Bangalore, where it was prayed that several students aspiring for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), 2015 are unable to apply for the same due to the age limit restriction of 20 years and 22 years for the general category and reserved category students respectively, the bench of Sunil Ambwani, Acting C.J. and Prakash Gupta, J., passed an interim order directing the organizing university Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University (RMLNLU), Lucknow to not to reject the applications of students who have crossed the prescribed age limit, and to suitably modify the software to accept such applications.
In the present case, the respondent university via R.N. Mathur contended that the decision on the age limit has been arrived at by all the 16 universities who have joined together to hold CLAT. It was also contended that keeping in mind the purpose of CLAT which is to churn out best talent in the country therefore, the affixation of age limit was needed; moreover a student passes intermediate exams by 17 years, and by using 3 attempts to appear for CLAT, a student gets sufficient opportunity by the age of 20. On the other hand, the petitioners appearing in person stated that the prescription of age limit by the Core Committee of the organizing university is irrational and arbitrary and has been formulated without any statutory base and deprives the students of the chances to get admission in the best law schools of the country. They further argued that eligibility to appear for CLAT at the age of 17 yrs is not entirely correct as there are students residing in rural areas where there is a lack of facilities; also there are cases where a student due to severe illness or hardships is unable to pass the intermediate exams by the age of 20.
On perusing the contentions, the Court observed that Clause 28 of Schedule III, Rule 11 of Bar Council of India Legal Education Rules, 2008 was withdrawn by the Bar Council on grounds of introduction of invidious classification of students by prescribing an age limit and violation of several provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961. It was further observed that affixing the age limit does not serve any apparent objective; and it cannot be ruled out that a large number of students reside in the rural areas which too form a talent bank for the law colleges to draw out students. Therefore the Court found the present case fit to issue an interim order to RMLNLU to relax the age limit restrictions for the applicants. The Court also directed the 16 Organizing Universities to review their decision in the light of this Court’s observations. Kshitij Sharma v. The Bar Council of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Raj 320, decided on 04.03.2015