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'There Are Some Problems About Senior Designation In Various Courts' : Supreme Court To Take Up Issues Cases Related To Senior Designation Process Soon

Srishti Ojha
23 Aug 2021 5:21 AM GMT
There Are Some Problems About Senior Designation In Various Courts : Supreme Court To Take Up Issues Cases Related To Senior Designation Process Soon
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The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said on Monday that the Supreme Court will consider issues related to the process of senior designation soon. He also indicated that there will be "some developments" in this regard within a week or two.The CJI made this statement when Senior Advocate Indira Jaising mentioned before him an application filed by her with respect to the rules framed by...

The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said on Monday that the Supreme Court will consider issues related to the process of senior designation soon. He also indicated that there will be "some developments" in this regard within a week or two.

The CJI made this statement when Senior Advocate Indira Jaising mentioned before him an application filed by her with respect to the rules framed by certain High Courts for senior designation.

The CJI assured Jaising that the issue was under consideration and requested her to wait for one or two weeks saying that "some developments might take".

"There are some problems about senior designation in various courts. The SCBA(Supreme Court Bar Association) had also requested for senior designation. I want to take this up".

"You know one of our Seniors Soli(former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee) has passed away. We have to replace", CJI added.

The CJI said that there are some practical difficulties are the case is to be heard by a bench of at least 3-judges and requested Jaising to be patient for at least one or two weeks.

"It is a judgement which requires to be worked out by the court. This issue has been hanging fire for very long", Jaising replied.

"I will take up the matter. Please give it some time", the CJI said.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising has moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the process adopted by certain High Courts to confer senior designations through the process of secret voting of the full court is "arbitrary and discriminatory".

The application points out that recently the High Courts of Delhi and Punjab & Haryana resorted to voting process to confer senior designations. Such voting was done even after marks were assigned to the candidates by the Committee of the High Courts based on the "objective criteria" formulated by the Supreme Court in the 2017 judgment in the case Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India.

The voting process by the full court, Jaising argues, defeats the objective and purpose of the 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court which highlighted the need to limit the element of subjectivity in senior designations.

To illustrate her point, the senior counsel refers to the process adopted by the Delhi High Court in conferring 55 senior designations. 87 advocates had cleared the cut-off set by the Committee based on the objective criteria. However, these names were again subjected to a secret voting process of the full court, which resulted in exclusion of 32 candidates.

Jaising asserts that the Supreme Court had said in its judgment that voting should be resorted to "only" when it is "unavoidable". However, most High Courts use the voting method as a norm and not an exception. She adds that the recent designations given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court also used the voting method.

Clarifying that she is not interested in the outcome of any particular designation or any particular candidate, Jaising says that her concern is to ensure maximum objectivity in the process.

The application is moved as a Miscellaneous Application in the writ petition filed by her in 2015 which resulted in the 2017 judgment laying down objective criteria for senior designations.

Therefore, she is seeking a clarification that voting by "secret ballot" on each candidate for senior designation is arbitrary, discriminatory and contrary to the judgment in Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and others.

A writ petition is also pending before the Supreme Court challenging the recent senior designations conferred by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


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