SC notice on plea for transparent method to designate senior lawyers

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the attorney general, the Bar Council of India, Supreme Court Bar Association and Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association on a plea seeking to put in place a transparent system based on rules and procedures for the designation of lawyers as “seniors”.

A bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice R. Banumathi issued the notice, returnable in four weeks, as a battery of senior lawyers including petitioner Indira Jaising urged the court that it was a statutory position with administrative obligations under the Advocate Act and thus the designation should be criteria-based.

Besides Jaising, senior lawyers Rajeev Dhavan, Kapil Sibal, M.N.Krishnamani, and Rupinder Singh Suri flayed the voting system amongst the judges for the selection of lawyers to be designated as “senior” as it has given rise to “lobbying”.

As a consequence, lawyers glued to “ethics” or those pursuing causes of human rights or public interest are a casualty as they would not indulge in self-promotion and less deserving gets designated as “senior”, they argued.

Explaining why voting system was introduced in 2014, Justice Thakur said that it came in as otherwise judges were hesitant and reluctant to express their views about lawyers before them for consideration to be designated as “senior”.

Jaising has moved the apex court seeking a transparent criteria based selection of lawyers to be designated as “senior” to remove arbitrary and subjective consideration in the selection process.

Initially the court was reluctant to entertain the PIL, but issued notice when a large number of lawyers urged the court to examine the issue to put in place a “uniform” system for the process.


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