The Centre on Monday urged Delhi High Court to grant them more time to file their response to a plea challenging legal provisions and Supreme Court rules for designation of lawyers as senior advocates. The request was made before a bench headed by Justice S Ravindra Bhat, who on August 1 had issued notice to the Centre and Bar Council of India, seeking their reply to the petition by a lawyers’ body which contended that designation of senior advocate created a different class of lawyers.
Allowing the Centre’s request, the court adjourned the matter for November 22. The plea by the lawyers’ body, National Lawyers’ Campaign For Judicial Transparency And Reforms, has alleged that the designating only some advocates as ‘seniors’ violated fundamental rights including that of right to life, free speech and equal opportunity in employment guaranteed under the Constitution as it creates a different class of lawyers.
It has also sought that the provisions in the Advocates Act, which allegedly create this distinction, be declared ultra vires the Constitution and void ab initio. The lawyers’ body has said in their plea that there should not be any difference in dress code between designated senior advocates and other lawyers. It has claimed that under the Advocates Act, primacy in proceedings was given to senior advocates and claimed that this was unconstitutional.