Calcutta HC Stays Recommendations For Senior Designation [Read Order]

Calcutta HC Stays Recommendations For Senior Designation [Read Order]

The Division Bench of Calcutta High Court has stayed further action on the recommendations of three names for senior designation made by the committee for designation of senior advocates..

"The Registry/Secretariat of this Court is directed not to take any steps for placing the 3 names recommended by the committee for being designated as senior advocates with the Hon'ble the Acting Chief Justice for obtaining approval in a full court", ordered the Division Bench of Justices I P Mukerji and Amrita Sinha. The matter has been posted next on January 21.

The committee for designation of senior advocates, consisting of senior judges, had recommended 3 out of 30 candidates to the Full Court.

The interim order was passed in a petition by lawyer Debasish Roy, who challenged the guidelines framed by Calcutta High Court for senior designation. According to him, the High Court has not framed guidelines as per the directives issued by the Supreme Court regarding senior designation in the Indira Jaising case. The recommendations were made as per the guidelines framed before the judgment in Indira Jaising case, he argued.

Roy's grounds of challenge are as follows :

  • As per Clause 11 of the guidelines, only advocates regularly practising in the High Court can be considered. This is contrary to Section 16 of the Advocates Act, which does not state that senior designation can be given to only advocates practising in High Court. The clause excludes many deserving advocates who are practising at the subordinate courts.
  • Guidelines give the committee the power of relaxation up to 10 marks. This will lead to favouritism.
  • The requirement to give income particulars is against the SC judgment.

The guidelines were defended by Joydeep Kar, senior advocate appearing for the High Court administration. He said that the guidelines were in conformity with the SC judgment. They not exclude advocates practising in the subordinate courts. He added that the power of relaxation must be given to the committee to do proper justice.

The Division Bench found that the petitioner had made out a "most arguable case" and that he has been able to raise "very substantial questions to be tried".

Therefore, the bench "strongly requested' the committee not to take any further steps in making further recommendations.

Roy had first approached the Supreme Court challenging the designation process. But the apex court declined interference last September, and directed him to raise the issue in the High Court.

It was on October 12, 2017 that the SC issued guidelines for senior designation in the case filed by senior counsel Indira Jaising.

Read Order