In a major effort to streamline and bring in transparency into the process of designating advocates as “seniors”, the Supreme Court today said henceforth all matters relating to it will be dealt preliminarily by a committee headed by the Chief Justice .
I. All matters relating to designation of Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court of India and in all the High 105 Courts of the country shall be dealt with by a Permanent Committee to be known as “Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates”;
II. The Permanent Committee will be headed by the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India and consist of two senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court of India (or High Court(s), as may be); the learned Attorney General for India (Advocate General of the State in case of a High Court) will be a Member of the Permanent Committee. The above four Members of the Permanent Committee will nominate another Member of the Bar to 106 be the fifth Member of the Permanent Committee;
III. The said Committee shall have a permanent Secretariat the composition of which will be decided by the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justices of the High Courts, as may be, in consultation with the other Members of the Permanent Committee;
IV. All applications including written proposals by the Hon’ble Judges will be submitted to the Secretariat. On receipt of such applications or proposals from Hon’ble Judges, the Secretariat will compile the relevant data and information 107 with regard to the reputation, conduct, integrity of the Advocate(s) concerned including his/her participation in pro-bono work; reported judgments in which the concerned Advocate(s) had appeared; the number of such judgments for the last five years. The source(s) from which information/data will be sought and collected by the Secretariat will be as decided by the Permanent Committee;
V. The Secretariat will publish the proposal of designation of a particular Advocate in the official website of the concerned Court inviting the 108 suggestions/views of other stakeholders in the proposed designation;
VI. After the data-base in terms of the above is compiled and all such information as may be specifically directed by the Permanent Committee to be obtained in respect of any particular candidate is collected, the Secretariat shall put up the case before the Permanent Committee for scrutiny;
VII. The Permanent Committee will examine each case in the light of the data provided by the Secretariat of the Permanent Committee; interview the concerned Advocate; and make its overall assessment on the basis of a point-based format indicated below:
VIII. All the names that are listed before the Permanent Committee/cleared by the Permanent Committee will go to the Full Court.
IX. Voting by secret ballot will not normally be resorted to by the Full Court except when unavoidable. In the event of resort to secret ballot decisions will be carried by a majority of the Judges who have chosen to exercise their preference/choice.
X. All cases that have not been favourably considered by the 111 Full Court may be reviewed/reconsidered after expiry of a period of two years following the manner indicated above as if the proposal is being considered afresh;
XI. In the event a Senior Advocate is guilty of conduct which according to the Full Court disentitles the Senior Advocate concerned to continue to be worthy of the designation the Full Court may review its decision to designate the concerned person and recall the same.
Read the Judgment Here