SC is­sues guide­lines to ac­cord se­nior des­ig­na­tion to lawyers

While de­cid­ing the is­sue of des­ig­nat­ing a lawyer as se­nior ad­vo­cate, the com­mit­tee would also con­sider as­pects such as num­ber of years put in the prac­tice, judge­ments in cases in which the lawyer has been a part, pro bono lit­i­ga­tions and the test of perso

The Hitavada - - NATION -

THE Supreme Court on Thurs­day is­sued a slew of guide­lines, in­clud­ing set­ting up of a per­ma­nent com­mit­tee led by the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia, to ac­cord se­nior des­ig­na­tion to lawyers.

A three-judge bench headed by Jus­tice Ran­jan Go­goi said that be­sides the CJI, the com­mit­tee would in­clude a se­nior-most apex court or a High Court judge, as the case may be.

The bench, also com­pris­ing Jus­tices R F Na­ri­man and Navin Sinha, pro­posed the set­ting up of a per­ma­nent Sec­re­tar­iat which would col­late all in­for­ma­tion of a can­di­date who would be con­sid­ered for con­fer­ring of se­nior des­ig­na­tion by the per­ma­nent com­mit­tee. Be­sides the CJI and se­nior-most SC or HC judge, the com­mit­tee would in­clude a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the bar and the At­tor­ney Gen­eral in case of the apex court and Ad­vo­cate Gen­eral in case of high courts.

While de­cid­ing the is­sue of des­ig­nat­ing a lawyer as se­nior ad­vo­cate, the com­mit­tee would also con­sider as­pects such as num­ber of years put in the prac­tise, judge­ments in cases in which the lawyer has been a part, pro bono lit­i­ga­tions (taken up in pub­lic in­ter­est) and the test of per­son­al­ity. A lawyer will have to un­dergo the test of per­son­al­ity in which he will be in­ter­viewed for be­ing des­ig­nated as a se­nior lawyer.

The bench also made it clear that the per­ma­nent sec­re­tar­iat will put the names of can­di­dates be­ing con­sid­ered for se­nior des­ig­na­tion on the web­site for invit­ing sug­ges­tions of stake­hold­ers.

It said af­ter a name is con­sid­ered and ap­proved by the per­ma­nent com­mit­tee, it will be put be­fore the full court (in­volv­ing SC/HC judges as the case may be) which will de­cide to ac­cord se­nior des­ig­na­tion to an ad­vo­cate ei­ther unan­i­mously or ma­jor­ity, through se­cret bal­lot.

Ear­lier, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral had on Au­gust 29, told the court that the des­ig­na­tion of se­nior ad­vo­cates can­not be termed ‘bad in law’ and it does not vi­o­late Ar­ti­cle 14 of Con­sti­tu­tion (equal­ity be­fore law).

SC had re­ferred a PIL filed by Indira Jais­ing to a larger bench. It had sought trans­parency in and over­haul­ing of the “opaque sys­tem” of des­ig­nat­ing lawyers.

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