On 18th May, the Delhi High Court refused to grant relaxation to a second-year law student from taking her fourth semester examination which commenced on 16th May due to low attendance. The Bar Council of India mandates at least 70% attendance for its professional course, but Ms. Ankita Meena could not attend classes in the fourth semester because of her advanced pregnancy.
Her lawyer stated that she was a regular and diligent student who could not attend classes due to health issues and the birth of her child but the Court refused to grant the relief in lieu of the provisions of Rules of Legal Education of the Bar Council of India and other High Court decisions. The student had relied on an ordinance of a chapter of the University of Delhi which reads, “in the case of a married woman student who is granted maternity leave, in calculating the total number of lectures delivered in the College or in the University, as the case may be, for her course of study in each academic year, the number of lectures in each subject delivered during the period of her maternity leave shall not be taken into account.” The petitioner had not applied for a maternity leave.
While speaking to a reputed newspaper, the Judge declared that once Rule 12 of Rules of Legal Education of the BCI prescribes a mandatory attendance of 70 per cent in each semester of LLB, no reliance can be placed on Rule 2 (9) (d) of Ordinance VII of Chapter III of Delhi University, which is a general provision that does not deal with a professional course like LLB.
The student’s counsels Ashish Virmani and Himanshu Dhuper then approached the apex court on 22nd May on an urgent basis but Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha denied her plea to appear for an exam on Wednesday afternoon. The Court sought the arguments of the University’s Council, who appeared before the court at 1 p.m. and by the time the hearing would have concluded, the exam would have gotten over which was at 2 p.m. on 23rd May.
However, The Supreme Court bench granted the liberty to the petitioner to seek the decision of Division Bench of Delhi High Court, where the case is already pending.
Feature Image Credits: India.com