CJI to head per­ma­nent com­mit­tee on se­nior des­ig­na­tion of lawyers

The New Indian Express - - INDIA - EX­PRESS NEWS SER­VICE @ New Delhi

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.

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