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Another high court also orders scrapping of CLAT age limit

The Allahabad high court quashed the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) age limit and directed CLAT 2015 convenor RMLNLU Lucknow to allow anyone interested in appearing for the test to appear.

Ruling in the writ of 21 overage candidates Justice Shashi Kant Gupta held:

"the impugned advertisement/notice issued by the [RMLNLU] fixing upper age limit cannot stand the scrutiny of law. The condition imposed by the advertisement/notice for Common Law Admission Test -2015 to the extent of prescribing the Age Limit by the Conducting University/[RMLNLU] for the Under Graduate Programme, Five Year Integrated LLB Programme for general candidate as well as SC/ST/PWD (Persons with Disability Candidates) candidates is hereby quashed.”

In a final order identical to which the Rajasthan high court passed an interim order last week, the HC on 26 February held:

“The Vice Chancellor/Convener of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University is directed to accept the petitioners' admission form and to allow the petitioners-candidates as well as the other similarly situated candidates to appear in CLAT-2015 examination subject to their satisfying other conditions of eligibility, except the requisite condition as to age stipulated in the notice/advertisment. The [RMLNLU] is further directed to upgrade its website accordingly within a period of one week from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order.”

RMLNLU VC Gurdip Singh had in November told Legally India that exercising its autonomous power the CLAT committee had decided to keep the age limit for the test unchanged despite a Bar Council of India circular quashing age limit for appearing in CLAT. However in the 26 February order, the Allahabad HC emphasised that the CLAT conducting universities had no such autonomous power and had to mandatorily follow BCI rules.

The court held:

"[RMLNLU Lucknow] has completely shut its eyes and has not considered that when the Bar Council of India itself has withdrawn the notification prescribing upper age limit as 20 years for admission in the stream of Integrated Bachelor of Law Degree Program by means of notification dated 28.9.2013, [RMLNLU] had no authority in law to prescribe the upper age limit for appearing in CLAT-15 which is merely an examination conducting university."

"The University cannot go beyond the statutory provisions as have been laid down under the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules. Thus, the CLAT organizing University went beyond the power envisaged under the Act by prescribing 20 years as the maximum age limit for CLAT Examination-2015."

"[RMLNLU] is an agency which was given the responsibility to hold CLAT-2015 on behalf of the concerned law colleges/universities, in accordance with the admission procedure as laid down by the BCI. [...] the rules framed by the BCI are mandatory in nature and must be followed by all the concerned Colleges and Universities recognized by it."

The Rajasthan high court on the other hand, only passing an interim order, has given time to the CLAT committee to take a decision on the age limit and reply to the court.

The Allahabad high court had directed CLAT 2014 convenor GNLU Gandhinagar also last year not to reject the CLAT applications of two 21-year-old candidates on the ground that they had crossed the age limit fixed by the core committee. However, through this writ the HC has given a wider ruling to apply to even those candidates who are not petitioners before it.

Hat tip to CLAT mentor Rajneesh Singh for pointing us to the order.

Read order

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