A cross-section of lawyers has said that age and experience are important factors that need to be considered before an advocate is decorated with the distinction of a ‘Senior Advocate’.
As ‘Senior Advocates’ are treated on a par with judges of the High Court due to their expertise in a branch of law and allowed to wear the gown meant for judges, weightage needs to be given to age and experience before considering a lawyer for this distinction, they have said.
“An advocate is considered for elevation as a judge of the High Court only when he/she reaches the age group of 45 to 55. The same age group norm should be applied for grant of ‘Senior Advocate’ as not only brilliancy but also maturity and experience play a vital role when choosing an advocate for the distinction,” Senior Advocate S.S. Naganand said.
Mr. Naganand, who has given suggestions for the proposed rules, said voting system was not proper and there should be a transparent mechanism for selection. There should be a proceeding in writing on why an advocate was chosen or not for this distinction, he said.
As ‘Senior Advocates’ are restrained in law from taking up various assignments that an ordinary advocate is permitted to do, giving the distinction to an advocate at a young age would deny him/her various opportunities, he said.
Another allegation many members of the Bar are making is that the present norm of prescribing income levels for giving this distinction is a violation of a 2008 verdict of a three-judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, a veteran senior advocate said, and added that the court had quashed such a norm holding that it was against the terms prescribed in the Advocates Act, 1961.
When recommendation for selection to the post of a judge is made by a three-judge collegium of the High Court without any reference to the Full Court, why the decision on granting ‘Senior Advocate’ should be sent to the Full Court, some advocates have sought to know.