Himachal Pradesh HC Refuses to Enrol LL.B Degree Holder as Advocate Due to Illegal Admission to Law College

Himachal Pradesh HC Refuses to Enrol LL.B Degree Holder as Advocate Due to Illegal Admission to Law College

The Himachal Pradesh High Court recently declined to order the Himachal Pradesh Bar Council to enroll an LL.B. degree holder as an advocate, citing that the individual had gained admission to a law college through illegal means.

Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua stated that the Bar Council's decision not to enroll Inderpal Singh was within its authority and jurisdiction under the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules.

“The petitioner was very well aware at the time, when he took admission in LL.B three years Degree Course that he had not passed the B.A. examination. He was also aware about the eligibility condition that he ought to have qualified B.A. degree before taking admission to LL.B three years degree course,” the Court said.

She added that Singh himself had given an undertaking that he was taking provisional admission, which was subject to cancellation if he failed to complete his Bachelor's degree.

Singh had enrolled in a three-year LL.B. course at Mata Bala Sundri College of Legal Studies (affiliated with Himachal Pradesh University) in June 2014, despite not having completed his B.A. degree. He was issued the marks certificate for the third-year B.A. exam held in March 2015, only in July 2015.

After completing the LL.B. course in 2017, Himachal Pradesh University issued him a provisional certificate. He subsequently sought enrollment with the Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh.

However, the Bar Council refused to consider his application, compelling him to approach the High Court in 2018. He argued that the college had failed to issue clarification regarding his admission and that he had completed his degree as a regular student.

The writ petition was disposed of as infructuous last year after the Bar Council considered and rejected his application.

Singh then filed another petition challenging the decision of the Enrollment Committee and sought ₹5 crore in damages from the University, College, and the State Bar Council.

The Court noted that a candidate must possess a Bachelor's degree to be eligible for admission to the LL.B. course.

“The documents furnished by the petitioner for enrollment made it writ large that he had taken admission to LL.B three years degree course even before qualifying B.A 3rd year examination,” it observed.

The Court also found that the University had issued the LL.B. certificate to Singh in good faith, unaware of the illegality of his admission to the LL.B. course. Additionally, it noted that Singh was "simultaneously pursuing BA & LLB degree course".

“Such recourse was impermissible. This fact & position in law is not even disputed by learned counsel for the petitioner,” the Court said as it rejected the petition. However, the Court clarified that the petitioner would be free to seek "appropriate remedy in accordance with the law before the appropriate forum, for his claim of damages."

Advocate Atharv Sharma represented the petitioner.

Advocates Uday Shurya Kaushik and Nitin Thakur represented Himachal Pradesh University.

Senior Advocate VS Chauhan and Advocate Bhanvi represented the Mata Bala Sundri College of Legal Studies and Dr YS Parmar Society for Education and Learning.

Advocate Sunil Mohan Goel represented the Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh.

Case Title: Inderpal Singh vs Himachal Pradesh University & Ors

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