Law Student’s Plea challenging BCI Guidelines on Intermediary Exams: Bombay HC seeks response from Bar Council Of Maharashtra & Goa

    The Bombay High Court on Thursday (22nd October) directed to implead the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa in a petition challenging the guidelines issued by the Bar Council of India (BCI) on intermediate year exams for law students [Samarvir Singh v. Union of India & Ors].

    A Division Bench of Justice AA Sayed and Justice SP Tavade issued notice in the matter after granting leave to the petitioner to implead the State Bar Council.

    The petitioner Samarvir Singh, who is a student of the Government Law College, Mumbai, sought directions to the BCI to dispense with its guidelines issued in May and June this year on conducting exams for intermediate year law students.

    The plea stated that the BCI guidelines were in stark contrast to the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which permitted the promotion of intermediate year law students based on their aggregate marks obtained in the previous year as a one-time measure.

    It also stated that it is not feasible to conduct online exams for intermediate year law students due to lack of infrastructure. Singh also contended that since the number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra was high, it would be unsafe to conduct offline examinations.

    The petitioner also cited the recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of Praneeth K & Ors. Vs University Grants Commission & Ors., which left it open to universities to promote intermediate year students based on the rational assessment of the pandemic situation.

    The petitioner also sought directions from the High Court to the University of Mumbai to publish the results of intermediate year students in compliance with the guidelines of the UGC.

    However, it was informed to the Court that a circular was already issued by the University for considering aggregate marks of the students with a view to promoting them.

    Finally, the Court noted that Singh will only pursue the prayer seeking directions to dispense with the BCI guidelines. Thus, it asked him to implead the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa to give them a chance to respond.

    The matter will be heard next on November 12, 2020.