SC to hear plea on designation of lawyers on March 31

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court today fixed March 31 for hearing a batch of petitions seeking framing of uniform guidelines for designating lawyers as senior by the apex court and the high courts across the country.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar fixed the matter for the day after tomorrow after senior advocate Indira Jaising, who has filed the PIL in her personal capacity, mentioned the matter before it.

The lawyer sought an early hearing of her plea, saying that the issue of designation is currently stalled and it will have wide ramifications across the country.

“We are listing it for hearing on March 31,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said.

The top court had earlier set up a three-judge bench for hearing a batch of pleas seeking framing of guidelines for designating a lawyer as senior.

It had considered the argument that there should not be a ban on designating a lawyer as senior by the apex court and the high courts across the country till the petitions are decided.

Jaising has sought transparency and overhaul of the “opaque system” of designating lawyers as senior advocate and said the apex court should deal with the matter on the “judicial side” and frame uniform guidelines on the issue.

The court had also tagged with Jaising’s plea a petition pending in the Delhi High Court which challenged the provisions of the Advocates Act relating to designation of lawyers as senior.

The petition in the high court has challenged the constitutional validity of sections 16 and 23 (5) of the Advocates Act, 1961 which provide the statutory basis for designation of lawyers as senior advocate.

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