For the first time in the judicial history of the High Court of Kerala, it has published the proposals and recommendations for designation as senior advocates, inviting views and suggestions of the bar regarding the same. This is done as per the newly framed High Court of Kerala (Designation of Senior Advocates Rules) 2018 notified on February 16. As per Rule 8, the proposals and recommendations are to be published in the official website to enable the stakeholders to submit their views and suggestions within 30 days of publication. Anonymous responses are clearly barred as per the Rules.
This is the first action as per the newly notified Rules for senior designation. It is worth recalling that the Rules are framed as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court in the decision Indira Jaising v. Union of India.
In the first list published on April 2, names of 14 advocates have been published. The names are :- Gopinath.P, P. Vishwanathan, N.Raghuraj, P.B Krishnan, Santhosh Mathew, Philip Mathew, Mohan Pulikkal, Kodoth Sridharan, V.v Surendran, Elvin Peter.J, Murali Purushothaman, Madhu Radhakrishnan, Karunakaran C.K and Subash Chand.S. Out of these, 12 names are based on recommendations by two senior advocates as per Rule 3(b). The names of Philip Mathew and Karunakaran C.K are based on voluntary applications, which have been endorsed by two senior advocates as per Rule 3(c).
Later on April 3, a second list was published with the names of 6 more advocates :- V. Santharam, P.Sanjay, Mayan Kutty K.I, P.S Sreedharan Pillai, George Poonthottam and K. Narayanan. Out of these, the names of three lawyers were proposed by sitting judges as per Rule 3(a). George Poonthottam and K. Narayanan were proposed by Justice C.K Abdul Rehim, and Mayan Kutty K.I was proposed by Justice A. Hariprasad. V. Santharam submitted voluntary application with endorsement of two senior advocates and the rest were recommended by two senior advocates each.
The names will be considered by the “committee” specially constituted as per the Supreme Court guidelines. The committee will be headed by the Chief Justice of the High Court, and will consist of the next two senior-most judges, and the Advocate General. These four members will nominate another member of the Bar as the fifth member of the committee. The Registrar General of the high court will act as the secretary of the committee. After preliminary scrutiny, the committee will place the names for consideration by the full court. The proposals/recommendations/applications will be accepted if two-third judges present in the full court meeting vote in favour of it.