High Court (India)

May 28, 2019

Delhi High Court: 170 Lawyers Application for Senior Designation Stayed

[ By Titus Manickam Rock ]


Applications seeking conferment of designation as Senior Advocate of 170 lawyers have been stayed by the Delhi High Court under the newly notified High Court of Delhi Designation of Senior Advocate Rules, 2018.

The amended ‘The High Court of Delhi Designation of Senior Advocate Rules, 2018’ provides that an advocate may be considered by the High Court for being designated as Senior Advocate on a Joint Proposal by three Senior Advocates. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup J. Bhambhani stayed the operation of the amended Rule.

Last month, Delhi High Court had called for applications from lawyers seeking conferment of designation as Senior Advocates under a notification dated March 13. Applications were required to be submitted to the Secretariat of the Committee for designation of Senior Advocates latest by 4.30 p.m. on May 25, 2019.

The objection to the newly notified Rules was that the designation as Senior Lawyer was to be recommended by three Senior Advocates.

The Bench has now allowed all lawyers eligible to apply for senior designation to do so without any recommendation by three Senior Advocates. Two petitioners, both practicing advocates at the Delhi High Court had sought quashing of Rule 6L, Volume V of the Delhi High Court Rules which provide for Rules for designation of senior advocates as it was violative of Article 14, 15, 16 and 21 of the Constitution and Section 16(2) of the Advocate Act.

The petitioners represented by senior advocate Siddhartha Dave however dropped their prayer seeking direction to the Permanent Committee to invite “meritorious candidates from marginalized castes, genders and religious minorities” in case no applications were received due to “lack of social confidence and networking abilities”.

The Court directed the Registrar General to place the petition as well as the counter affidavit submitted by the High Court before the Full Court for reconsideration of the Rule. The Rule was defended as an additional screening process to enable the Committee to judge a candidate’s standing at the Bar and social knowledge. Justice Menon remarked, “Why should there be anything which would influence the decision of the Court? The objective satisfaction is that of the Court, not Senior Advocates.”

The matter was now listed for May 27.

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