Law Clerk Recruitment: 3 year LLB course graduates to be treated at par with 5 year LLB course graduates

Hyderabad High Court: A Division Bench of the High Court partly allowed a petition stating that the persons who have completed a 3 year LLB course after a 3 year graduation are to be treated at par with persons who have completed a 5 year LLB course after 10+2, so far as the appointment of law clerks for the High Court is concerned.

The petition stated that the persons who have completed a 3 year LLB degree after graduation are in no way different than the persons who have completed a 5 year LLB course after 10+2. The notification for the appointment of law clerks stated that only persons who have finished a 5 year LLB degree are eligible to be appointed as law clerks in the High Court. This notification was argued to be arbitrary and against Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Court agreed with this view but differed on two other questions. On the question of eligibility of persons who have completed a 3-year LLB course through distance education, the Court stated that such persons shall not be eligible as they are a different category from any other 3 year or 5 year LLB graduate. The position of law clerks have been created to hone the skills of fresh law graduates and not to provide employment.

As to the second question, the prohibition on enrolled advocates is upheld as they are assumed to have duties towards their clients which shall often clash which their judicial or administrative duties. On all these grounds, the petition was partly allowed with direction to the Registry to issue a corrigendum to the impugned notification. [S.M. Saifullah v. The Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad; W.P. No. 24806 of 2017, decided on 31.07.2017]

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