Invite applications for conferment of “senior advocate” designation, Supreme Court urged

Indira Jaising.

Indira Jaising.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Senior advocate Indira Jaising has urged the Supreme Court to brush off its ‘inertia’ and invite applications from lawyers for conferment of “senior advocate” designation.

In an application filed in the apex court, Ms. Jaising, who was the country’s first woman Additional Solicitor General, suggested the court could initiate the designation process online during the pandemic. It could conduct virtual interviews of the candidates.

Ms. Jaising’s petition, filed through advocate Anindita Pujari, had led to the Supreme Court judgment in October 2017 which blew out opacity to introduce transparency and uniformity in the designation process.

The 2017 judgment, which “rectified long-standing imbalances and anomalies”, saw the court formulate the “Supreme Court Guidelines to Regulate Confirmation of Designation to Senior Advocates, 2018”. The guidelines formally recognised the work done by advocates specialising in various fields of law, including climate and environmental law, pro bono cases, public interest matters, etc.

Ms. Jaising pointed out that the court had called for applications only once after the judgment. At the time, 105 advocates had applied and 37 were conferred the designation.

“By initiating the process only once, post August 2018, the Court has failed to comply with its own judgment and 2018 guidelines.”

She said the 2018 guidelines required the process to be conducted twice annually, in January and July. The Registry has not initiated the process four times in 2019 and 2020, she said.

“This inertia has adversely impacted several deserving members of the Bar,” she submitted.

Wide variety of legal talent

Periodic designations enable litigants to opt from a and assist the court in dealing with complex pro bono cases. It would also provide equality of opportunity, the application said.

The Supreme Court and the High Courts honour lawyers with the designation in recognition of their ability and years of standing at the Bar. The Advocates Act, 1961 empowers these courts to do so.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 10:19:22 PM |

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