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SC Issues Notice on Guidelines on Senior Designations to Advocates

by Shreya
plea to enact law

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on the application filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising seeking implementation of the court’s guidelines on conferring senior designations.

A bench comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee issued notice to the registrar general of the apex court, returnable in four weeks, on the application filed by Jaising. The apex court would examine whether the process of designating senior lawyers begin with online interviews in terms of its 2018 guidelines.

In August, Jaising had moved the top court seeking proper implementation of the 2017 Supreme Court judgement, where it laid down the guidelines for the senior designation of lawyers as senior advocates, for a uniform and standardised process for conferment of the senior gown on lawyers in the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

These guidelines were laid down by the Supreme Court for a uniform and standardized process to be adopted for the conferment of the Senior gown on lawyers in the Supreme Court as well as the High Courts.

Also Read: Supreme Court Releases New SOP for Physical Hearings from September 1 on Experimental Basis

Ten months after the judgment, the guidelines were notified by the Supreme Court and in line with these and applications were invited by the Committee for the Senior designation of Advocates in August of 2018. The first round of Senior designations, in line with the new guidelines, culminated in 37 applicants being designated Senior Advocates in March of 2019.

In this backdrop, Jaising prays that the guidelines notified as a result of the judgment must be implemented in letter and spirit.

“Many High Courts have dutifully implemented the judgment of this Hon’ble Court in Indira Jaising. However, by initiating the Senior Advocate designation process only once, post August 2018, this Hon’ble Court has failed to comply with its own judgment and 2018 guidelines. This inertia has adversely impacted several deserving members of the Bar, who are otherwise eligible to be designated.”

Mindful of the existing situation as regards the pandemic and the resultant limitations, the application adds that the initial process of the designation can be carried out in the electronic mode, in line with how the Court is discharging its duties and functions of hearing cases through video conferencing. The application states,

“…this Court has done an admirable job of ensuring that the doors of justice are kept open even in the face of the crisis brought by the global pandemic. It is reiterated that this Hon’ble Court by conducting numerous hearings of Court case via virtual mode on a daily basis has done a commendable job and hence, by the present application, it is most respectfully submitted that a similar procedure can also be extended to the Senior designation process.”

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