Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., urged the Bar Council of India to amend its Rule 5 in order to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5-year course or 3-year law course, as the case may be.

The instant petition sought a direction to respondents with regard to the admission of the petitioner in the 3-year LL.B degree course during the academic year 2019-2020.

The petitioner applied for the three years L.L.B. Degree Course under the MBC category and the petitioner on obtaining necessary cut off marks.

Petitioner at the time of counselling was informed that he was not eligible to be considered for selection on the ground that he did not satisfy requirements laid under Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules. Hence the present petition was filed.

What does Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India talk about?

Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules makes it very clear that an applicant must graduate through a regular programme conducted by a University for the purpose of being considered for admission in the 3 year Law Course.

However, the proviso, which should be considered as an exception to the main Rule, expands the eligibility. The proviso makes it clear that even the applicants who have obtained Higher Secondary or Under Graduation through Distance Education will also be eligible for admission for the 5-year course or the 3-year course, as the case may be.

Further, it has been added that a person who has not completed 10th cannot qualify for 10+2, a person who has not completed 10+2 cannot qualify for UG and a person who has not completed UG cannot qualify for PG. This is the literal meaning for the explanation appended to Rule 5 of Bar Council of India Rules

Court made the observation that as per the existing Rules, the petitioner is eligible for being considered as a candidate for the 3 year B.L Course subject to the condition that the petitioner again participates in the selection for the academic year 2020-2021 and obtains necessary cut off marks.

Bench while disposing of the petition also stated that,

Necessary changes in Rule 5 should be made to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5 year course or 3 year course, as the case may be.

In the absence of the same, persons who have not even gone to the regular school or college will get into a law college for the first time in their life and that may not be a healthy trend to maintain the quality of education in Law.

The Bar Council of India should seriously take this suggestion into consideration and make necessary changes to the Rule.

[M. Krishnakumar v. Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2017, decided on 19-08-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a major decision in the matter relating to the students enrolled in the Distance learning Engineering Courses of certain Deemed Universities during the Academic Sessions 2001-2005, the bench of UU Lalit and AK Goel, JJ suspended the admissions and directed AICTE to conduct appropriate tests of the students in order to determine whether their degrees should be restored or not. It further added that students will not be given more than two chances to clear test/tests and if they do not successfully clear the test/tests within the stipulated time, their degrees shall stand cancelled and all the advantages shall stand withdrawn.

In the present case, it was contended before the Court that theDeemed Universities in question had set up “off campus centers” and “study centers” in violation of the Regulations framed by the UGC; that very same study center, at times was operating for more than one Deemed to be University; that these study centers completely lacked infrastructure and facilities for courses in Engineering and that the programmes through distance education mode were illegal and without approval.

Holding that the Deemed Universities were not justified in introducing any new courses in Technical Education without the approval of AICTE, the bench gave the following directions apart from the direction of conducting fresh admissions:

  • The entire expenditure for conducting the test/tests shall be recovered from the concerned Deemed Universities by 31.03.2018 and those students who do not wish to exercise the option, shall be refunded entire money deposited by them towards tuition fee and other charges within one month of the exercise of such option. The degrees of such students will stand cancelled.
  • If the students clear the test/tests within the stipulated time, all the advantages/benefits shall be restored to them and their degrees will stand revived fully.
  • As regards students who were admitted after the Academic Sessions 2001-2005, their degrees in Engineering awarded by the concerned Deemed to be Universities through distance education mode stand recalled and be treated as cancelled. However, the entire amount paid by such students to the concerned Deemed Universities towards tuition fees and other expenditure shall be returned by the concerned Deemed Universities by 31.05.2018.
  • CBI will carry out thorough investigation into the conduct of the concerned officials who dealt with the matters and went about the granting permissions against the policy statement and into the conduct of institutions who abused their position to advance their commercial interest illegally.
  • UGC will also consider whether the Deemed University status enjoyed by Universities in question calls for any withdrawal and conduct an inquiry in that behalf by 30.06.2018 as indicated above.
  • Deemed Universities will not carry on any courses in distance education mode from the Academic Session 2018- 2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus Centres/Study Centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned Statutory Authorities.
  • UGC will take appropriate steps and implement Section 23 of the UGC Act and restrain Deemed Universities from using the word ‘University’ within one month from today.

The Court also asked Union of India to constitute a three members Committee comprising of eminent persons who have held high positions in the field of education, investigation, administration or law at national level within one month, for examining the issues indicated above and suggest a road map for strengthening and setting up of oversight and regulatory mechanism in the relevant field of higher education and allied issues within six months. The Court said that the Committee may also suggest oversight mechanism to regulate the Deemed Universities.

Asking the Union of India to file an affidavit in this Court of the action taken on or before August 31, 2018, the Court placed  the matter on 11.09.2018. [ORISSA LIFT IRRIGATION CORP. LTD v. RABI SANKAR PATRO, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1281, decided on 03.11.2017]