1. The petitioners in both these writ petitions seek issuance of a writ of Mandamus directing a Self Financing Law College to admit them in BBA LLB/BA LLB Course.2. The petitioner in W.P.(C) No.19084/2020 completed her Secondary School from Government HSS for Girls, Balussery. After SSLC, though the petitioner joined for Plus Two Course in regular stream, she could not complete the Course. Therefore, the petitioner joined Senior Secondary Course (Plus Two) in National Institute of Open Schooling, which is an autonomous institution under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The petitioner passed the Course. The Mahatma Gandhi University issued eligibility certificate also to the petitioner, certifying that the Senior Secondary School Examination (Private) of National Institute of Open Schooling passed by the petitioner, is recognised by the University.3. The petitioner aspired to do a Law Course and applied for BBA LLB (Integrated Five Year Course) before the 3rd respondent-College. The College, on 09.09.2020, issued Ext.P6 letter to the petitioner stating that since she has obtained Plus Two Higher Secondary pass certificate from National Institute of Open Schooling in a single sitting (one year), her application for admission to BBA LLB Course violated the Rules of Bar Council of India and therefore the petitioner will not be considered for admission.4. The petitioner in W.P.(C) No.19495/2020 studied up to 11th standard following the syllabus prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education, in Greets Public School, Kochi. The petitioner passed the All India Secondary School Examination conducted by the CBSE. After completing Class 11, the petitioner opted to do further education from the National Institute of Open Schooling. The petitioner successfully completed the Senior Secondary School Examination conducted by the NIOS.5. The petitioner in W.P.(C) No.19495/2020 also applied for admission to Integrated Five Year BA LLB Course in the same College (the 2nd respondent in WP(C)No.19495/2020). The petitioner was also informed that since he obtained Plus Two Higher Secondary Certificate from the NIOS in a single sitting (one year), his application for admission to BA LLB Course cannot be considered.6. I have heard Advocate P.G. Jayashankar, counsel for the petitioner appearing in W.P.(C) No.19495/2020, Advocate S. Renjith, counsel for the petitioner in W.P.(C) No.19084/2020 and Advocate Rajit, Standing Council appearing for Bar Council of India.7. Rules on Standards of Legal Education and Recognition of Degrees in Law for the purpose of enrollment as Advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961 are governed by Rules of Legal Education, 2008 framed by the Bar Council of India in consultation with Universities and State Bar Councils. The Rules are framed in exercise of the powers conferred on the Bar Council of India under Section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961. As per Rule 2(xxiii) of the said Rules:-“Regular course of study means and includes a course which runs for at least five hours a day continuously with an additional half an hour recess every day and running not less than 30 hours of working schedule per week.”Rule 4 of the said Rules provides that there shall be two courses of law leading to Bachelors Degree in Law:(a) a Three Year Degree course in law undertaken after obtaining a Bachelors' Degree in any discipline of studies from a University or any other qualification considered equivalent by the Bar Council of India.(b) a Double Degree Integrated Course combining Bachelors' Degree Course as designed by the University concerned in any discipline of study together with the Bachelors' Degree Course in Law, which shall be of not less than five years duration leading to the Integrated Degree in the respective discipline of knowledge and law together.”8. The petitioners have applied for admission to Integrated Degree Program. The eligibility for admission to the Integrated Degree program contained in Rule 5(b), is as follows:-“(b) Integrated Degree Program – An applicant who has successfully completed Senior Secondary School Course (Plus Two) or equivalent (such as 11 + 1, 'A' Level in Senior School Leaving Certificate Course) from a recognised University of India or outside or from a Senior Secondary Board or equivalent, constituted or recognised by the Union or by a State Government or from any equivalent institution from a foreign country recognised by the Government of that country for the purpose of issue of qualifying certificate on successful completion of the course may apply for and be admitted to the program of the centres of legal education to obtain the Integrated Degree in Law with a Degree in any other subject as the first Degree from the University whose such a Degree in Law is recognised by the Bar Council of India for the purpose of enrollment.Provided that applicants who have obtained Plus Two Higher Secondary pass certificate or first Degree certificate as prosecuting studies in Distance or Correspondence method shall also be considered as eligible for admission in the Integrated Five Year Course or Three Year Course, as the case may be.Explanation – The applicants who have obtained 10 + 2 or Graduation/Post Graduation through Open Universities System directly without having any basic qualification for prosecuting such studies are not eligible for admission in the Law Courses.”The College authorities, it appears, have refused to entertain the application for admission of the petitioners relying on Rule 5.9. As far as Three Year Law Degree Course is concerned, the basic qualification is 12th Standard and requisite qualification is a Degree. For admission to Integrated Degree Program, the basic qualification would be 10th Standard and requisite qualification would be Plus Two. The Explanation under Rule 5 would make it clear that ineligibility for admission is on them who have obtained 10+2 (for Integrated Degree Course) or Graduation (for Three Year Law Degree) through Open Universities System directly without having any basic qualification for prosecuting such studies.10. The only other condition contained in the Rules is that the qualification of Class 10th, 12th or Graduation are subject to pass percentage of 45% for General Category, 42% for OBC Category and 40% for SC/ST Category, as per Rule 7 of Legal Education Rules. Therefore, from the Rules, 2008, it is evident that the basic qualification for Integrated Degree Program is Secondary School Certificate and candidates are required to undergo regular study by attending classes for obtaining the said basic qualific
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ation. If such candidates have obtained the requisite qualification of Plus Two through Distance Education mode, that will not disqualify a student for joining Integrated Degree Course in Law.11. In that view of the matter, Ext.P5 in W.P.(C) No.19495/2020 and Ext.P6 in W.P.(C) No.19084/2020 issued by the College authorities cannot stand the scrutiny of law and therefore they are set aside. Consequently, there will be a direction to the 3rd respondent in W.P.(C) No.19084/2020 and respondents 2 and 3 in W.P.(C) No.19495/2020 to admit the petitioners for the Integrated Five Year Law Degree Course for which they have submitted applications, if they are otherwise eligible and entitled.Both the writ petitions are disposed of as above.