Kerala High Court senior advocate designation rules challenged before Supreme Court

Sohan KV, a former State attorney with over 40 years of practice at the Bar, has contended that the Rules are in violation of the 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court in Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India.
Kerala High Court senior advocate designation rules challenged before Supreme Court
Kerala High Court

Kerala based lawyer, Sohan KV has approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court of Kerala (Designation of Senior Advocates) Rules, 2018 which govern designation of Senior Advocates in the Kerala High Court.

Sohan, a former State Attorney with over 40 years of practice at the Bar, has contended that the Rules are in violation of the 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court in Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India.

The plea, which has been filed as an application in the Indira Jaising case, said that the Rules run contrary to the judgment of top court with respect to the number of votes a candidate should get at the full court meeting for him/ her to be designated.

As per the judgment, a simple majority is sufficient but the Kerala High Court Rules mandate two-third majority, the plea drawn by advocate Bijo Mathew Joy and filed through advocate Seshatalpa Sai Bandaru said.

As per the application, Sohan had applied for the gown in 2018.

The permanent committee constituted under the Rules had conducted an interview of twenty-nine applicants and on awarding scores, recommended the names of twenty-two advocates for senior gown.

The names were then forwarded to the full court comprising 38 judges. The full court however, designated only three lawyers out of the twenty-two as Seniors.

The designated lawyers were those who scored two-third majority in the process voting.

"It is pertinent to mention here that the applicant, KV Sohan, along with two others received twenty votes each have not been designated. Thus the guidelines laid down by this Hon’ble court for Senior Designation has been bypassed by the Kerala High Court in its rules by incorporating two-third majority of votes instead of simple majority," the plea said.

Sohan then wrote to the Chief Justice of the High Court and all the judges of the High Court pointing out the issue with the Rules but received no response.

The Kerala High Court has now issued fresh notification for senior designations, the plea pointed out.

The petitioner, therefore, prayed for setting aside the provisions of High Court of Kerala (Designation of Senior Advocates) Rules, 2018 to the extent it is in violation of Indira Jaising judgment.

It also sought directions to be issued to the High court of Kerala to frame rules in conformity with the Indira Jaising judgment.

Besides, the petitioner also prayed that all the uncleared applications of 2018 should be reviewed in accordance with the new Rules.

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