In 2016 a petition was filed in the high court by Mr. Rahul Dutta and Ms. Padma Landol, two students who wanted to apply for two year LLM course at DU. The petitioners challenged DU’s practice of requiring an affidavit from the student stating that they will not practice or take on any employment while enrolled for the course. This requisite for securing admission in the two year LLM course has been going on for the last five decades.
The students petitioned that this restrains them from practicing in Courts even though the Bar Council of India grants lawyers to pursue full-time course without the suspension of their license. The court rejected the argument of the university that LLM is a full time course and it requires full attention of the students. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said: “The Bar Council of India, which regulates the legal profession, allows advocates to join LLM as regular students while carrying on their profession, then how can DU impose restrictions on carrying on of the practice of law?”
A similar writ petition has now been filed in the High Court challenging an ordinance passed by the DU in 2015 under the Delhi University Act, 1992 which prohibits students seeking admission for two year LLM course to practice law while enrolled in the university. Clause 8 of the ordinance says that LLM courses offered at DU are meant for those who are not in employment or engaged in any trade, professions, business or occupation.
Student Union President, Piyush Pushkar, who filed the petition, has directly the above mentioned clause of the ordinance. The prohibition imposed upon the students is said to constitutionally invalid as it violates the right granted under Article 14, 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The petition has been supported by many students of the university who also think that this restriction is arbitrary and prevents them from proper legal exposure and experience.
This prohibition seems more absurd after the recent judgment given by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that year spent while enrolled in LLM would be counted as practice if the student has passed the bar exam. On the other hand, students of DU pursuing LLM are not allowed to register themselves with Bar Council of India (BCI) or appear for All India Bar Examination and if they already have then they would have to suspend the same in order to pursue LLM at DU. DU is the only central law university imposing such condition on its students.
The petition also elaborates upon the financial difficulties faced the student because of this blanket prohibition. Substantial relationship between the ordinance clause 8 and the object sought to be achieved has also been questioned.
The petition is being argued by Mr. Anirudh Bakhru and the HC bench comprises of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Chander Shekhar. The hearing of the petition was set for February 2, 2018, the Court however instead of passing any interim order as hoped fixed a next date of hearing as April 12, 2018.
The issue is not new and has been questioned before, then why is it that the solution is not being followed when already provided with it.
Report By: Neha Bargotra, Student Reporter, INBA