SC lays down guidelines for according 'senior advocate' designations

Postado Outubro 12, 2017

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday said it will set up a a permanent committee headed by the Chief Justice of India to decide which lawyers are to be given seniority.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that besides the Chief Justice of India, the committee would include a senior most Supreme Court judge or a high court judge, as the case may be in the committee.

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 to which the lawyer has been a part, publications, pro bono litigation and the test of personality.

The court, however, rejected the challenge made by some of the petitioners to the validity of Section 16 of the Advocates Act, 1961 that empowered the Supreme Court or a High Court to designate Senior Advocates.

The bench also comprising Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha proposed setting up of a permanent secretariat which would collate all information of a candidate who would be considered for confirming of senior designation by the permanent committee.

On giving the Bar representation, it said "the four Members of the Permanent Committee will nominate another Member of the Bar to be the fifth Member of the Permanent Committee".

It said the secretariat would collect the data and their sources for perusal and decision by the CJI-led committee.

Therefore, the apex court in its order has widened up the scope to be termed as Senior Advocates.

"Voting by secret ballot will not normally be resorted to by the Full Court, except when unavoidable".

Then the permanent committee would call the aspirant lawyers for designation as senior for interviews and personality tests.

The bench said the guidelines may not be exhaustive and "may require reconsideration in the light of the experience to be gained over a period of time".