In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court initiated an effort to usher in transparency in the process of designating lawyers as senior advocates, by ruling that a committee will be set up to look into the applications by advocates and laying down guidelines on how the selections should be made. THE WEEK had compiled an extensive report on the issue.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R.F. Nariman and Navin Sinha gave the verdict that a permanent committee will be set up in the Supreme Court and in the high courts to assess applicants.
The 'Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates' will comprise the chief justice, two senior judges, the attorney general or the advocate general as the case may be, and an eminent member of the bar. The committee will have a secretariat, which will vet the applications by going through criteria such as the number of reported judgments, years of practice, personality, and suitability.
The secretariat will publish the proposal for designation of a particular advocate on the official website of the court, inviting suggestions and views of various stakeholders.
All names that are listed before the permanent committee and cleared by it will be forwarded to the full court. In the event of a secret ballot, a majority decision will be reached at.
The court's judgment was on a PIL filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising in July 2015, in which she termed the present system of senior designation as arbitrary, non-transparent and discriminatory. She had asked for the system to be made more democratic. The process of senior designation in the apex court was on hold since the filing of the PIL by Jaising.