At the very outset, it is believed that Legal education is the fundamental right of every citizen. Hence, everyone should be allowed to study law and take LL.B degree at any age. Keeping this in mind, many protestors have been protesting against this maximum age restriction. Initially, in a directive issued to all law universities and colleges, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has directed that the age limit for applicants for the five-year course be restricted to 20 years and for the three-year course to 30.
According to Supreme Courts recent order passed on 3rd March, 2017, any law aspirant can fill the CLAT application form irrespective of its age.
Even as BCI pleaded that it had decided to relax the age limit by two years for such courses which the BCI has decided to increase the upper age limit for five-year law course from 20 to 22 and for three-year law course from 30 to 45. However, a Bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao clearly expressed its dissatisfaction at this interim measure taken by the BCI to raise the age-limit. However the matter is pending for final decision of the SC.
Now, the question arises whether this age restriction is a boon or a bane for the society?
In the authors opinion, although everyone has a right to study the laws, but such education should not be at the stake of the other persons right. Imagine a situation where a 20 years old person appearing for CLAT entrance along with, lets say, a 40 years old person. Definitely that elder person would have more experience and would have better command over the subjects and have more chances to clear the entrance. Such things would let a 12th passed out candidate wanted to pursue LL.B degree coming out with empty hands. Many people says that such age restriction is a discrimination against those aged people. But here I would like to answer that the discrimination occurs only between equals. There is no discrimination between those who are unequal. Â According to Article 14 of the Constitution of India, the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
The provision itself says if unequal are treated in a different manner, then there is no discrimination. A 20 years old is definitely unequal/different from a 40 years old and hence, both of them cannot be compared on the same footing. Also, generally it is seen that people who could not do anything in life get into LLB and became lawyers, thereby degrading the quality .People who are already retired and have nothing to do, get into LLB and became lawyers, thereby degrading the quality. Professionals enrolling into LLB have an “unfair advantage” and “edge” over regular students owing to their contacts and thus corner briefs. Such persons would definitely going to take away the seats of those young students.
Furthermore, the author would like to clarify that she is not questioning the capability of those who have crossed the age limit and wanted to pursue law would not become a good lawyer. But the question here is the right of those who have just passed their intermediate and wants to do LL.B from such renowned institution. Hence, they can become a good lawyer but at the cost of taking over a seat of those young generation who have just cleared their intermediate.
The solution can be taken out by increasing the maximum age limit.
Also there are 3 year LL.B degree in which there is no age restriction as such and in whichever college if age limit exists that is also very relaxing. Such students can enroll themselves in those colleges rather than pursuing 5 year LL.B degree and seeking age relaxation in that. University of Delhi is the best example where students of any age are pursuing their LL.B degree.
By – Poornika Kumari
(Content Writer @ Legal Bites)