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BCI ekes out 3 more days from SC puzzled over age limit rationale, promises decision at tomorrow’s Kolkata meet

The BCI better come up with some good reasons for the age limit in Kolkata (or it may find it easier to do away with it)
The BCI better come up with some good reasons for the age limit in Kolkata (or it may find it easier to do away with it)

The Supreme Court challenge of the Bar Council of India (BCI) age limit to studying law has given the BCI until Friday (3 March) to figure out its position after the BCI asked for more time because its general council would discuss the matter tomorrow at a meeting.

Advocate-on-record for the petitioners, Zoheb Hossain, said that BCI counsel AK Prasad had told the bench of justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao that there would be a BCI general counsel meeting tomorrow in Kolkata, at which the age limit was on the agenda.

“We told them there could not be any reasonable age limit,” added Hossain.

Senior counsel Sanjay Hegde and advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan argued in court today, with senior counsel Kapil Sibal who argued at the first two hearings not appearing today.

Hossain added that although the matter had been adjourned to Friday, the “court made a lot of observations that were very encouraging”, asking why people study law for its own sake; what percentage of people over the age limit actually study law, and whether the BCI had any dependable statistics on this, and what harm older law students were doing if they came and sat in a classroom and studied.

Last Monday, 20 February, the Supreme Court had given the BCI another eight days to provide its response in the petition brought by two petitioners who barely missed the age limit and the moving case of one Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholar impacted by the new rule.

A little later last week in the Supreme Court, BCI counsel Prasad had confirmed in another challenge that the age limit was not retrospective, after the petitioner’s Right to Information (RTI) had been answered with a reference to the final recommendation - which never came - from a special age limit committee constituted by the BCI on 22 October 2016.

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