P&H HC | No right to be admitted to rolls of Bar Council if requisite minimum percentage of marks not obtained in LL.B course

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajiv Narain Raina, J. dismissed a petition in oral judgment challenging Section 7 of Legal Education Rules, 2008 (LER) framed by Bar Council of India, New Delhi.

The petitioner is a law graduate and postgraduate from Panjab University, Chandigarh. The petition filed challenges Section 7 of LER which states that a law graduate candidate to be admitted to rolls of the Bar must possess 45 per cent marks in graduation. A clarification passed by LER dated 13-09-2009 maintains that a candidate who scores below 45% in Graduation level in LL.B. but possesses more than 45 per cent marks in post graduation is eligible to appear for the rolls of the bar. The petitioner has failed to achieve the benchmarks set by Bar Council of India as she has achieved 44.70 per cent in Graduation and 40.87 per cent marks in post-graduation. Petitioner does not qualify for the relaxation either.

Counsel for petitioner, Lalit Kumar Sharma argued that minimum qualifying marks shall not automatically disentitle the person to get admission but only order the person to fulfill the conditions in institutional criteria evolved by institutions. Arguing further the counsel states that the Bar has fixed minimum required marks for license but it has self-imposed restrictions in lowering the merit in educational qualifications of LL.B. and LL.M. below 45% in aggregate of marks.

Counsel for the respondent, Mr Brar urged that the Bar has refused to admit candidates for the roll of Bar who possessed less than 45% marks.

The Court refused to entertain the submission of counsel for the petitioner that if university could enroll the petitioner to its LL.B. course despite her minimum marks, then per force, the Bar Council should be bound by admission for award of licence to practice law. It was opined by the Court that admission to the course and admission to the rolls of Bar are not same thing.

The Court advised the petitioner that her options are open in the teaching career and she could use her degree elsewhere but the Bar could not concede to her request. The Court dismissed the petition holding that it was not possible to accept the request of the petitioner that her career would be ruined and she would not be able to practice as an Advocate in courts of law. [Kitti Chhabra v. Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2189, decided on 14-10-2019]

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