Supreme Court: ‘We Need Mature People Coming Into the Profession’ – Rejects Proposal for Three-Year LL.B. After High School

The Supreme Court recently declined to consider a plea asking for students to be allowed to pursue a three-year law degree right after finishing high school. This means that students would go directly from school to studying law without needing to complete another degree first. The court, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, disagreed with the idea that three years of legal education after high school was sufficient. They believe that five years of studying law is better because it produces more mature and capable professionals.

In the current system, students can choose to pursue a five-year law program after high school, which combines a Bachelor’s degree in subjects like Arts, Commerce, or Business Administration with a law degree. Alternatively, they can opt for a three-year law program after completing a Bachelor’s degree in another field.

The petition to allow three-year law programs right after high school was brought forward by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. He argued that the five-year program is influenced by expensive colleges and that allowing three-year programs could benefit students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, especially girls. He also suggested that civil servants can begin their careers immediately after completing their undergraduate studies, so why not law students?

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, representing Upadhyay, highlighted how a shorter law program could encourage more girls and economically disadvantaged students to join the legal profession. However, the Chief Justice pointed out that there are already a significant number of women in the judiciary, indicating that the legal profession is not inaccessible to them.

Ultimately, the court decided not to entertain the plea and allowed Upadhyay to withdraw it. Instead, they suggested making a representation to the Bar Council of India, which regulates legal education in the country. This means that Upadhyay can still bring his concerns to the attention of the appropriate authority but through a different avenue.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court believes that a five-year law program is beneficial for producing skilled and mature legal professionals. While there are concerns about accessibility for economically disadvantaged students and girls, the court feels that these issues can be addressed through other means, such as making representations to the Bar Council of India.

Judge did not receive the salary: Patna High Court judge moves to the Supreme Court

A judge from the Patna High Court, Justice Rudra Prakash Mishra, has taken his case to the Supreme Court, stating that he hasn’t received his salary since being promoted to the High Court in November 2023. He argues that the delay is because he hasn’t been given a General Provident Fund (GPF) account, even though he completed all the required paperwork.

The Supreme Court has accepted Justice Mishra’s plea, where he is requesting the opening of a GPF account and the release of his salary. A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, issued notices to the Union of India, the State of Bihar, and the Registrar General of the Patna High Court. The court has set the case for consideration on January 29, 2024.

Justice Mishra, through his lawyer Advocate Prem Prakash, sought interim relief, but the court didn’t make any interim decisions. The judge claims that not having a GPF account has caused financial and mental instability, preventing him from receiving his salary since the promotion.

In his plea, Justice Mishra refers to Section 20 of the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954, seeking a declaration that he is entitled to a GPF account. The Act states that every judge can subscribe to the General Provident Fund, with a provision for judges who held other pensionable civil posts before their appointment to continue their subscription to the Provident Fund they were enrolled in previously.

This case follows a similar issue involving seven sitting judges of the Patna High Court who approached the Supreme Court last year. They faced the closure of their GPF accounts based on a letter from the Law Ministry. In response, the Supreme Court, led by CJI Chandrachud, directed the immediate release of salaries for these judges.

Justice Mishra’s case emphasizes the importance of prompt administrative processes for judges, particularly concerning financial matters like the GPF account, which affects their livelihood and well-being. The Supreme Court’s decision on January 29 will clarify the resolution of this matter and may establish a precedent for judges facing similar challenges.

In a broader context, these incidents underscore the need for streamlined administrative procedures to ensure the timely and efficient handling of judges’ financial matters, safeguarding their rights and well-being within the judicial system.