Indira Jaisingh asks SC to resume process of Senior Advocate designation conferment through virtual process

New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee today issued notice to the Registrar General on a plea by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising seeking directions for proper and effective implementation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the regulation in conferment of Senior Advocate designation and to initiate the relevant process.

Jaising’s plea has also asked that the senior designation process be conducted in virtual mode in a manner similar to the virtual court hearings. The application has been filed in the case titled Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India (through the Secretary General) & Ors. , which had sought guidelines for the designation of Senior Advocates.

Pursuant to the judgment in 2017, the Supreme Court had issued its guidelines on August 6, 2018 for regulating conferment of designation of senior advocates.

Indira Jaisingh

The application has stated that as per the guidelines, the Secretariat of the Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates is required to invite applications from candidates seeking conferment of Senior designation twice in a year, but the applications were invited only once in August 2018 after issuance of guidelines.

According to the applicant, going by the guidelines, the registry should have initiated the process of designation in January and July 2019, and in January and July in 2020, but it wasn’t done in these last four windows. The process of inviting applications has therefore come to standstill after August 2018.

According to the applicant, the apex court judgment in 2017 regarding Senior designation was a landmark judgment that rectified long standing imbalances and anomalies in the process, and introduced a great amount of transparency and merit in the process. However, by not implementing the guidelines, the Court has failed to comply with its own judgment, which has adversely impacted several deserving and eligible members of the bar.

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The applicant has also acknowledged the current pandemic and lockdown situation and stated that the Senior advocate designation process can commence even now as the initial stages of calling for applications can be done electronically. Even if the present lockdown gets extended the entire process including scrutiny of applications, interviews, etc can also be done virtually.

- India Legal Bureau