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“Padho bhai” – Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Lower AIBE Pass Marks, Citing Quality Concerns

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, dismissed a plea requesting a reduction in the pass marks for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE), in the case of Ranjeet Singh and Another v. Bar Council of India

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, upheld the current cutoff marks, expressing concerns over potential adverse effects on the quality of law practitioners if the marks were lowered further.

Court’s Commentary

In a notable remark, CJI Chandrachud remarked, “How much more can the cutoffs be lowered? Padho bhai (Study brother).”

Background on AIBE and Pass Rates

The AIBE, administered by the Bar Council of India (BCI), is mandatory for law graduates seeking to practice in Indian courts. Currently, the pass cutoff is set at 45 out of 100 for general and OBC candidates, and 40 for SC/ST candidates.

Exam Statistics and Public Response

Recent data under the Right to Information Act revealed that only 48.36% of candidates passed the AIBE-18 conducted on December 10, 2023. Out of 1,44,014 candidates who appeared, 69,646 passed while 74,368 did not meet the passing criteria.

The rejection of the plea underscores ongoing discussions about maintaining standards and qualifications within the legal profession in India.

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