Saturday, January 24, 2015

Madras HC bars 'superman lawyer'

We follow a particular order even in the matter of wearing costumes. The only exception to this is comics book hero Superman. People who complete educational courses in the reverse order can only be compared to Superman, the Madras high court has said.

"No one would have ever imagined even in the wildest of dreams that people may acquire a postgraduate degree first, followed by an undergraduate degree, and thereafter complete the higher secondary course, eventually to go to a kindergarten," said Justice V Ramasubramanian on Friday, refusing to permit a law graduate to enrol and practice in courts, as he had completed his graduation course without clearing his Plus Two.

The matter relates to a petition filed by G Bappudurai, who failed in one subject in Plus Two in 1999. Without clearing Class 12, he joined a bachelor's degree course under Alagappa University's distance education programme. He obtained the BA degree in history in 2010. Thereafter, he appeared for the arrear paper in Plus Two in March 2010, and cleared it. He later joined three-year law degree in Tirunelveli Government Law College in 2010-11 and completed it in 2013. Though he had been issued a provisional certificate, Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University issued a show-cause notice to him after it came to know that he did not complete his schooling and foundation degree in the prescribed 10+2+3 format and order.

His counsel argued that Bappudurai fulfilled the eligibility criteria in 2010-11 for joining the three-year law degree course and that the university could not question it after having issued the provisional certificate.

Rejecting the argument, Justice Ramasubramanian said, "When the expression "degree" was defined in the statutes, the law makers never imagined the kind of inventions that could happen in the field of education, entitling people to acquire all qualifications in the reverse or perverse order. At the time when the expression "degree" was defined in the statute, people would have honestly believed that a student would undertake a journey from the first standard up to the school final in a sequence and thereafter undergo the entire duration of the degree course."

Pointing out that the petitioner had not obtained his school and college certificates in normal sequence, the judge said he had not fulfilled the requirement of Rule 5 of the Rules of Legal Education, 2008, and hence he is not entitled to use the degree for enrolment as an advocate.

However, as a consolation, Justice Ramasubramanian made it clear that his degree would not go waste, and said: "Since he has already undergone the course and passed it, and also since he has also passed the higher secondary course, I do not wish to make that degree a waste paper. If a private employer is prepared to give employment to him on the basis of the law degree, I do not wish to stand in the way. But, it will not entitle him to get enrolled as an advocate."

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