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“Secrecy Goes. Now Only The Best Can Make It”, ‘Petitioner’ Jaising Hails New Senior Designation Rules

Senior lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising on whose petition the Supreme Court brought out the new point-based ‘senior’ designation rules with emphasis on experience and capability, is happy and satisfied.

“The secrecy which prevailed till now in the whole process goes.Now only the best can make It”, she said.

 “The biggest element is that there will be a secretariat they will mark you on a system on the basis of the work you have done..they will put up a marksheet ..then all the applications and data will be on a website and they will also call you for an interview”, she said.

Supreme Court today laid down uniform guidelines for senior designation to advocates in SC and High Courts with a points-based analysis of their suitability, capability and experience.

They will be analyzed on a scale of 100 points. There are 20 points for number of years of practice, 40 for reported judgments in their name, 15 for publications and 25 for test of personality and suitability. Candidates may also be called for interview.

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Supreme Court also directed to creates a permanent committee, headed by CJI,  two senior most judges  and AG, to examine background of advocates worthy to get senior designation.

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Permanent body will interview applicant lawyers to determine whether they are suitable to be designated.

List of senior designation aspirants, prepared by permanent committee after scrutiny and interview, will be sent to Full Court for voting.

Those rejected by Full Court on voting would be eligible for reconsideration only after lapse of two years.

The bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R F Nariman and Navin Sinha was delivering the judgment on Jaising’s plea  seeking transparency and overhauling in the “opaque system” of designating lawyers as senior advocates. She said the current process was discriminatory and required to be discarded.

“There should be deemed designation for law officers and retired judges as it is believed that senior advocates get preferential treatment in the court. The new system should consider various aspects, including integrity, pro bono work, expertise in specialised areas of law among other,” she had argued adding that the entire process needed to be democratized, closed door decisions stopped.

Jaising said in the United States, there are no senior or junior tags on lawyers and the practice was prevalent only in Commonwealth nations.

On January 2, the apex court had decided to hear afresh a plea seeking transparency and overhauling in the “opaque system” of designating lawyers as senior advocates.

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