Senior lawyer designation | SC agrees to hear plea for implementation of verdict, guidelines

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The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear an application seeking direction for effective implementation of its 2017 judgement and the guidelines to regulate conferment of designation of senior advocate.

The apex court in its October 2017 verdict had 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.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman issued notice to the secretary general of the apex court on an application filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising who has sought initiation of process for designation of senior advocates as per the guidelines.

The application, while referring to the virtual court hearings due to COVID-19 pandemic, said that the process of designating lawyers as senior advocates be conducted via virtual mode.

Jaising has said in her application that in pursuance of the apex court’s directions, the ‘Supreme Court guidelines to regulate conferment of designation of senior advocates’ were published on August 6, 2018 and laid down the process of designation of senior advocate.

“Since August 2018, as per 2018 guidelines, the Supreme Court registry ought to have initiated the process of designation in January 2019, July 2019, January 2020 and July 2020,” it said.

“However, no such applications inviting applications for designations have been issued by this court in the last four windows and that the process of inviting applications for designation of senior advocates has come to standstill after August 6, 2018,” it said.

The application said that 2018 guidelines are required to be effectively executed for proper implementation of the 2017 verdict.

It said that “designation of senior advocates is in public interest and enables litigants to have a wide variety of talent. Each senior advocate brings to the table a unique set of expertise, experience and talent thereby assisting the court in multiple ways such as complex pro bono matters”. It said that process for senior advocate designation can commence in the lockdown period as the initial stages of calling for application from the candidates can be conducted through electronic mode.