Kerala HC Makes New Rules For Designation Of Senior Advocates [Read Rules]

Kerala HC Makes New Rules For Designation Of Senior Advocates [Read Rules]

The High Court of Kerala has made new rules for the designation of senior advocates titled, ‘High Court of Kerala (Designation of Senior Advocates) Rules 2018, which is expected to be published in Kerala Gazette on this March 15. The new rules are made in the light of the guidelines and norms laid down by the Supreme Court regarding designation of senior advocates in its judgement in Indira Jaising v. Union of India.

The 2018 Rules state that an advocate can be considered for designation as ‘Senior Advocate’ on his name being proposed by the Chief Justice or any other judge of the high court, or on being recommended by two senior advocates, or on an application made by the advocate along with endorsements of two practising senior advocates.  The candidate must be a practising advocate for not less than 10 years and must have been an income tax assessee for at least 10 years.

The rules provide for the constitution of ‘Committee for the Designation of Senior Advocates’ as per the directions of Supreme Court in Indira Jaising (supra). 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.

The proposals/recommendations/applications for designation as senior advocates will be published by the committee, giving 30 days’ time for the suggestions and views of the Bar. The suggestions/views must be in writing, revealing full name and identity. The rules make it specifically clear that anonymous petitions will not be entertained.

The committee will collect relevant information and data regarding the advocate concerned, having regard to his/her reputation, participation in pro-bono work, number of reported judgments in which he/she has appeared, and will prepare a report. The committee will also interact with the advocate concerned for an overall assessment, nd will make a report of its opinion on the basis of materials on record, including the views collected from the bar, for submission before 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. Voting by secret ballot will be resorted to only if it is unavoidable.  If rejected, the advocate concerned will not be considered for senior designation for two years from the date of rejection, and further consideration will be made only on fresh proposal/recommendation/application.

The rules provide for revocation of designation, on commission of any professional misconduct or offence involving moral turpitude. The rules also provide for the option for voluntary recall of designation, whereby a senior advocate can make a request for recalling his designation.

Read the Rules Here