CJI-led panel to now consider senior designations for lawyers

RSTV Bureau

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a slew of guidelines, including setting up of a permanent committee led by the Chief Justice of India, to accord senior designation to lawyers. Besides the CJI, the committee would include a senior-most apex court or a high court judge, as the case may be.

The bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Rohington F Nariman and Navin Sinha, proposed the setting up of a permanent secretariat which would collate all information of a candidate who would be considered for conferring of senior designation by the permanent committee.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

While deciding the issue of designating a lawyer as senior advocate, the committee would also consider aspects such as number of years put in the practise, judgements in cases in which the lawyer has been a part, pro bono litigations (taken up in public interest) and the test of personality.

A lawyer will have to undergo the test of personality in which he will be interviewed for being designated as a senior lawyer.

The bench also made it clear that the permanent secretariat will put the names of candidates being considered for senior designation on the website for inviting suggestions of stakeholders.

After a name is considered and approved by the permanent committee, it will be put before the full court (involving SC/HC judges as the case may be) which will decide to accord senior designation to an advocate either unanimously or majority, through secret ballot.

The apex court had in March referred a PIL filed by senior lawyer Indira Jaising to a larger three-judge bench. It had sought transparency in and overhauling of the “opaque system” of designating lawyers as senior advocates, terming it as discriminatory.

(With inputs from PTI)