18 Feb 2023 11:30 AM GMT
The Supreme Court Bar Association has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking deletion of certain conditions in the points system introduced by the Supreme for conferring senior designations.The SCBA has sought modifications of certain guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in its 2017 judgment Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India regarding senior designation process.The...
The Supreme Court Bar Association has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking deletion of certain conditions in the points system introduced by the Supreme for conferring senior designations.
The SCBA has sought modifications of certain guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in its 2017 judgment Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India regarding senior designation process.
The key suggestions of SCBA are :
Don't award points for publications
The SCBA has suggested the deletion of the system of awarding 15 points for publications.
In this regard, the SCBA said :
"It is submitted that awarding 15 points for publications may not be desirable, as very few actively practicing Advocates are able to devote time for writing books and articles. In any case, writing of books and articles does not enhance the advocacy skills of an advocate in any manner and it is difficult to verify whether the article has been written by the Advocate himself. This criterion does not have any nexus to the object that is sought to be achieved i.e., ascertaining the suitability of a candidate for designation. Further, there is no objective criteria to award points for publication of books/ articles as the quality of article/book and standing/reputation of publishing house are also highly subjective"
Don't award points for interview
The SCBA has also suggested the deletion of 25 points awarded for interview "as the interview/interaction apart from being time consuming will serve no useful purpose as the suitability of an Advocate is primarily adjudged by the Hon’ble Judges on the basis of advocacy skills, knowledge of law and conduct at the bar, amongst others, spread over several years of practice before the Court".
Assessment be only on the basis of number of years of practice and judgments
The SCBA has suggested that the assessment of an applicant, including in respect of pending process, shall be made on the basis of number of years of practice (20 points) and reported/unreported judgments (40 points) i.e., total 60 points.
Consider applications of advocates with more than 30 years practice without insisting on fulfilling the guidelines
The SCBA has further suggested that applications seeking senior designation made by advocates with more than 30 years of practice in Supreme Court or High Courts must be considered favourably, unless there are any serious objections. The rigours of the guidelines in Indira Jaising be applied only to advocates with less than 30 years practice.
Further, the advocates practicing in multiple fora viz., Supreme Court, High Courts and other Courts and Tribunals should also be considered on merit.
The SCBA also suggested that the the number of appearance given by advocates appearing for the Government viz a viz the number of appearances given by the advocates appearing for private/nongovernment clients should be factored in accordingly as advocates representing various Governments have large number of appearances, many of them are non-effective hearings whereas private lawyers suffer disadvantage on the number of such appearances.
SCBA opposes Union Government's interference
Notably, the SCBA has also opposed the application filed by the Union Government seeking modifications of the senior designation guidelines.
"The process of designation is a matter between the Constitutional Courts i.e., the Supreme Court and the High Courts and the Advocates practicing before the said Courts. The associations representing the advocates in the respective courts also have a say in ensuring that the right criteria is followed so that the meritorious and deserving are selected. The Union of India or the State governments, being litigants before the Court have absolutely no locus standi in the matter and accordingly they should not have any right in suggesting anything in the matter of senior designation. The Union of India or the State has no role to play and accordingly has no stakes in the matter of senior designation and thus their application suggesting changes in the procedure needs to be disallowed"
On February 16, a bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar had allowed the SCBA and SCAORA to give their views. The matter will be heard on February 22.