CJI to head permanent committee on senior designation of lawyers
A week after the Supreme Court Collegium decided to make its recommendation public about the selection procedure of judges, the apex court Thursday revamped the age-old process of designating senior advocates in the country and indicated that it is ready for transparency.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi has put in place a new system by introducing a permanent committee and secretariat for evaluation of lawyers, who will also have to face interviews now. This will be implemented in the apex court as well as in 24 High Courts in the country.
The bench, in its 112-page judgment laid down as many as 11 guidelines to effectively deal with the process of designating lawyers as seniors.
Before this ruling, there were no fixed guidelines in the public domain on designation of senior advocates and some of the selections had raised questions over the correctness and the objectivity of the process.
Here on, there will be a permanent committee, which will be headed by the Chief Justice of India, two senior-most judges and the attorney general.
Such a committee in high courts will consist of the chief justice there, two senior judges and the advocate general. The four members of the permanent committee will nominate the fifth member from the bar.
A secretariat will scrutinise all applications for the designation and then compile all relevant information about the lawyers and put it up on the court’s website to invite public views. The final names will be put before the permanent committee and then the full court comprising all the judges in that court shall cast their votes, either through secret ballot or otherwise, and the designation will be cleared on the basis of majority of votes.
The ruling also made it clear that from now on selection will be done strictly on the basis of points-based evaluation of lawyers, which for the first time, will also include interviewing the candidates. Number of years of practice, judgments in which the lawyer argued, pro bono work, publications in recognised journals and special mentions will constitute the basis of designation.