Age is Just a Number
By Ashutosh Vasistha
On 12th March 2019 Supreme Court directed Bar Council of India to reconsider the upper age limit for admissions into five years and three years of law courses in India. As per the current provisions, the upper age limit for five years of law courses is 20 and 30 for three law course. It was challenged in the apex court and in various High Courts throughout the country and many conflicting judgments is already passed by the High Courts, so it was urged to the apex court to settle this problem as fast as it can.
Through issuing this guideline of reconsidering age limit apex court is trying to provide a vast scope of opportunity to those crossing these limits. Article 21 of our Constitution provides every individual “Right to Education” in the field in which his interest lies and through setting age limits Bar Council is curtailing these opportunities as well as violating the fundamental rights of the citizens of India. The reason Bar Council gave to set limits was to stop mushrooming of substandard law schools which are lethal for this profession. So, the question which arises now is that firstly, that whether these substandard law schools admit only those students who are above 20 or 30 years of age, and secondly that whether those students who are above this age limit and are studying in top law colleges of India are not involved in this classification. Thus, these rules laid down by are arbitrary, evasive, and beyond the limits of reasonable classification.
There exists no tool which can measure the quality standard of law professionals graduating that are over these limits and it is disgusting to think that they cannot contribute towards this profession. Our zeal, enthusiasm, determination towards our learning are the things which really count and just because anyone is crossing that ceiling it doesn’t mean that his ability to understand or to interpret the provisions reduces. It really takes a part of the human mind to bring such devilish thing which is not only restricting one’s freedom to choose an area of learning but also limits the future living of an individual. This freedom of choosing one’s career is one of the most important of all the freedoms because unless an individual works or make efforts at the field of his/her choice, he/she cannot remain happy and satisfied with their life.
It is totally unjustifiable as it not harming these institutions, but it can spoil the careers of many. For instance if a person commits any mischief law puts him behind the bars and not those who are vulnerable to such mischief, but vice versa is applicable in this case as although problem is created by promoters of these sub-standard law schools but the sufferers are those who are actually willing to learn something but are devoid from doing the same. The need of the hour is to take much required harsh steps against the promoters of such institutions and heavy penalty must be imposed on them for playing with the futures of students.
“Age is just a number” and classification on the basis of it is totally arbitrary and against the objectives of our, Constitution enshrined in its Preamble. It is clearly provided in Article 14, and 15 of our Constitution that state shall not discriminate arbitrarily with citizens and if legal fraternity will create such impugned rules and regulation then what will we expect from other two organs. It is really a point of concern that Bar Council which is composed by all the learned people of this profession is making such evasive discrimination and making such policies whose impact will be on the innocents and not on the stakeholders.
Mostly people from backward area, people belonging to marginalized section of society, and people who are not economically so sound often finds it difficult to enroll themselves in schools so early and as a result their senior secondary education completes a bit late, so a result of such arbitrary rules their dream or goal of entering into this noble profession will collapse and because of this it might become next to impossible for them to stand on their own feet. Also in the case when person after completing their graduation and post graduation from another field wants to pursue law course so that they can apply their specialization of another field in law to produce something innovative are hit hard by such discrimination.
This rule of Bar Council can really stop the scope of innovation in this profession as those belonging to other fields will find it difficult to enter into this line and thus will close the doors of creativity. Also, the growth in backward regions of our country will hit hard because individuals residing in these areas will find it difficult to enter into this profession and because of this they will not be able to hone their skills which will ultimately result in stagnant conditions. It is really high time to strike down or at least reconsider this limit otherwise this problem can affect the country adversely.
Bar Council must reconsider its policy as this rule of age limit will not help in reducing the rate of substandard law schools in India. In spite of this rule, I think in order to reduce the number of these institutions some pre-requisite qualifications must be incorporated and these qualifications must be strictly checked by the competent person appointed by the Bar Council. Adequate infrastructure, competent teaching staff must be there in every law schools and competent personnel of Bar Council must take regular inspection of such institutions. We have to analyze that problem is not in all those professing this occupation, but with those who play with this profession and that too on the cost of others. This direction of Supreme Court to Bar Council is a much-required step because until and unless judiciary will not step into these baseless and vision-less rules and regulations things will remain unchanged and that will be lethal for a developing nation.