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Madhya Pradesh High Court on Sunday adjudged that Universities in India are free to prescribe the minimum qualifying cut off marks for admissions to respective law courses, provided that it is not below 45%, as has been set to be the least requirement by the Bar Council of India.
The HC at MP was hearing a Petition filed by Shri Ramakrishna College of Law, demanding a direction to Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa to lower the minimum cut-off percentage prescribed by the University, from 50% to 45%, in light of the BCI Rules framed in this regard. The Hon’ble Court, however, declined to accept this reasoning, and observed, “A perusal of Ordinance 116 of the University indicates that the University has prescribed 50% as the qualifying marks which is in accordance with the rules framed by the Bar Council of India Rules. We are also of the considered opinion that the interpretation given to Rule 7 by the petitioner to the Bar Council of India Rules cannot be accepted as the rule specifically permits the University to prescribe the minimum qualifying percentage of marks not be below 45% marks without specifying the upper limit and in such circumstances, we do not find any merit in the contention of the petitioner.”
A Bench comprising Justice R.S. Jha and Justice Nandita Dubey interpreted Rule 7 of the BCI Rules and said that only the minimum qualifying percentage had been prescribed and that there was no upper limit, as their ratio decidendi.
Interpreting Rule 7 of the Bar Council of India rules the court observed that the Bar Council of India, while prescribing the minimum qualifying marks for admission, has laid down that “the Bar Council of India may from time to time stipulate the minimum percentage of marks not below 45% of the total marks in case of general category candidates, 42% marks for the OBC category candidates and 40% of the total marks for the SC and ST category candidates to be obtained for the qualifying exam”
The division bench further said that the very words “not below 45%” makes it abundantly clear that the University cannot prescribe the minimum qualifying marks or percentage to be below 45% marks but can certainly prescribe a higher qualifying percentage of marks.