In a first, visually challenged lawyer Advocate N Visakamurthy clears Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record exam

Visakamurthy said that this feat possible was not due to his hard work alone but also because of the role played by CJI DY Chandrachud, Attorney General R Venkataramani and Registrar General of the Supreme Court.
Adv N Visakhamurthy, AoR
Adv N Visakhamurthy, AoR

For the very first time in the history of the Supreme Court of India, a candidate with over 70% visual disability has cleared the Advocate on Record examination.

Advocate N Visakamurthy hailing from Chennai cleared the AoR examination in his first attempt.

The results of the AoR exam for the year 2022 were published on April 18.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, Visakhamurthy stated that this feat possible was not due to his hard work alone but also because of the role played by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Attorney General for India R Venkataramani and the Registrar General of the Supreme Court.

"My earlier two requests for scribes was rejected by the Supreme Court of India since the rule is to have someone who does not possess law degree and is also not knowledgeable of legal affairs. So in my third request, Semmozhi, a candidate in her class 12 was my scribe," said Visakamurthy.

He also stated that he and the scribe were given a separate room for the exam where he used to dictate the answers and the scribe used to write them, all under the supervision of Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, Visakamurthy had also filed a plea before the top court last year praying that appropriate guidelines be framed for persons with visual impairments to write the AoR examination.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay Oka had disposed of the petition with a direction to the Supreme Court of India to examine the prayer and communicate a decision as early as possible so that the candidate is able to appear for the examination.

Visakamurthy expressed hope that more disabled lawyers will write the AoR exam.

However, he said that the exam pattern should be made "disabled friendly" since it was not conducive for someone like him.

"The exam pattern is not for someone with visual impairment, especially papers like drafting etc in which you have to dictate. An open-book examination is also a closed book examination for us. For some of the papers, it was very difficult to explain the format to someone who is not familiar with the subject at all. Additionally only an hour was granted for me and a special correction request was also not met with," the lawyer lamented.

Visakamurthy had also cleared the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in 2018 and was thereafter appointed as an additional government advocate in the central agency section of the Supreme court.

The lawyer revealed that he was not permitted to join the service due to his visual impairment and wad thus reassigned to the post of an assistant legal advisor at Shastri Bhawan.

Thereafter in 2021, he was given the nod to join the central agency section in 2021.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news