Has A District Lawyer Not Practicing In HC Ever Been Designated As A Senior Advocate? Calcutta HC Seeks To Know [Read Order]
The Calcutta High Court has sought to know from the High Court Administration whether the Supreme Court or any high court has ever appointed any member of the District bar, not practicing in the high court, as a Senior Advocate.
A bench comprising Justice IP Mukherjee and Justice Amrita Sinha issued the direction on a petition filed by one Debasish Roy.
Mr. Roy had, earlier this year, approached the Supreme Court with similar grievances. The Apex Court had, however, refused to entertain his petition, asking him to first approach the high court.
Following the order, he then petitioned the high court, challenging certain guidelines for designating Senior Advocates, as notified by the high court on July 3 this year.
More specifically, Mr. Roy challenges guideline 11, contending that it unnecessarily restricts the zone of consideration to Advocates “who regularly practise in the High Court”, despite the fact that Section 16 of the Advocates Act, 1961 does not debar the Supreme Court or the high court from considering any lawyer from being designated as a Senior Advocate.
The high court now noted that it considers this to be the “most important point” raised in the petition.
Another point considered by the court was the contention that the guidelines have failed to include litigants in the definition of ‘stakeholders’.
Mr. Roy has also raised the following two issues:
- Why should the Legal Services Authority be asked to collect information regard as pro bono work under paragraph 14 (c) of the guidelines, when its panel lawyers are paid fees by the State to appear for the authority?
- Why should there be a discretion left with the committee to relax the benchmark under guideline (20) which might result in favouritism to some candidates.
The petition was now directed to be listed on December 9, with the court ordering, “We requested Mr. Kar, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the High Court Administration to apprise this Court as to whether the Supreme Court or any High Court has ever appointed any member of the District bar not practicing in the High Court as a Senior Advocate?
If the Court has made certain appointments the details of all such appointments made.”
As for the interim orders sought by Mr. Roy, it was left open for the committee to recommend designation of Senior Advocates to take a decision on the plea.Read the Order Here