Senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising has challenged the procedure for designating senior advocates. The apex court had heard the matter on October 21, 2016 and had reserved the matter for pronouncement of orders. However, an application was filed thereafter stating that most of the parties did not get sufficient opportunity to make submissions and that there is one case pending before the Delhi High Court which is challenging Sections 16 and 23(5) of the Advocates Act, 1961.
The apex court, therefore directed that the high court matter be transferred to the Supreme Court and both the matters be heard together, afresh.
On March 22, following arguments made by Indira Jaisingh, the bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha ordered as follows:
“The Constitutional validity of Section 16(2) is under challenge. The guidelines for the designation of Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court are sought through this petition. The decision of this court on the same issue will have ramifications so far as the bar associations all over are concerned. The issue therefore should be heard by a larger bench… A bench consisting of the Chief Justice of India should be constituted. As for the designation of the senior in high courts is concerned, we leave it to the wise discretion of the high courts.”
Indira Jaising started her arguments on March 22, saying: “I chose to file this petition as no rules or guidelines are laid down. Your lordship can lay down some guidelines, so that those who aspire to be designates can apply accordingly.”
Justice Gogoi asked: “Your petition is confined to designation to senior advocate in Supreme Court only. What effect will it have to high courts?”
Jaising requested the attorney general to put this matter to a full court. “We can also implead the bar associations of all high courts and can ask for a response,” she said.
The additional solicitor general added that meanwhile, the current process of designation of senior advocates should continue, because the government wants this. At this Justice Gogoi replied: “What has the government to do with this? You can argue when advocates act comes in.”
—By India Legal Bureau