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Senior Advocate Indira Jaising has filed an interim application in the Supreme Court in the case pertaining to designation of lawyers as Senior Advocates.
In her plea, Jaising has sought that the status quo be maintained on Senior designations by the Supreme Court till the writ petition filed by her is disposed of. She has also prayed that the Supreme Court should file an affidavit reflecting the views of the Full Court in the matter.
The application has relied on the survey carried out by Bar & Bench last year in which 56% of the participants had opined that the institution of Senior Advocate should be abolished.
Jaising, in her application, has stated that the affidavit filed by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court on July 25, 2016 does not mention whether the contents of the affidavit were approved by the Full Court or reflects the decision of the Full Court.
“It is submitted that in the reply dated 25.07.2016 filed by Respondent No. 1 there is no mention of the fact that the contents of the affidavit were approved of by the Full Court or that the affidavit reflects the decisions of the Full Court in so far as it states that there is no need for guidelines and/or rules.”
She has submitted that the decision of the Full Court on the petition should be known before a judicial decision can be taken on the challenge.
“It is therefore submitted that Respondent No. 1 be directed to file an appropriate affidavit indicating the decisions of the Full Court or such other authority as may be appropriate on the issues raised in this petition after having considered the challenge therein.”
Besides that, she has also sought for a direction to maintain status quo on the designations by Supreme Court. In an order passed on March 22, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court had noted in its order that “so far as designations in the interregnum is concerned we leave the matter to the discretion of the High Court(s) as well as this Court.”
“While not commenting on the power of the High Courts to designate depending on the extant rules, it is submitted that so far as the Supreme Court is concerned, considering that there are no rules, it is just and necessary that pending the hearing and final disposal of this petition, the status quo should be maintained and no designations should be made. If designations are made the very purpose of the present petition would be negated, especially in the light of the observations made in the order dated 02.01.2017.”
Moreover, Jaising has also prayed that the High Courts be directed to send their extant rules, regulations and resolutions, if any, outlining their practice and procedure in the matter of designation of Senior Advocates.
Jaising has also requested the Supreme Court to place on its website details about the pendency of the petition and informing the Bar Associations of High Courts that they may intervene with their suggestions, if any.
Regarding the survey conducted by Bar & Bench, the application states,
“That apart, the Petitioner has placed on record the survey conducted by Bar and Bench in February 2016 which shows that 56% of the respondents stated that the system of senior designations should be done away with and that the system is discriminatory: 75% of participants felt that designations are discriminatory based on political ideology, while 74% felt that discrimination was based on social status, (52%) felt that it was discriminatory based on gender, (45%) felt that it was based on caste and (32%) felt that it was based on religion. Further, nearly 87% believe that the chances of being designated are higher if one has a Senior Advocate in their family. While there is no way of verifying this data, perceptions are an important source of information for this Hon’ble Court to evaluate its own procedure.”
Jaising mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice of India today. He agreed to list the matter on March 31.
Read the application below.