The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review its method of designating senior counsel, and said it would welcome suggestions to improve the existing mechanism wherein judges cast their votes in a secret ballot.
A bench led by Justice T S Thakur issued notices to the SC Registrar General, SC Bar Association, SC Advocate on Record Association and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on a PIL filed by lawyer Indira Jaising, a senior advocate. Jaising challenged the “non-transparent and arbitrary” method of designating senior advocates by the top court, saying that it was “not akin to beauty contest or election”.
She contended that the current system has resulted in discrimination against those who specialise in environmental laws, human rights and PILs.
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Agreeing to examine her petition, the bench said: “We are not averse to hearing it. You come out with suggestions to make it (procedure) more objective. Something will emerge out of this. Perhaps something that could formally be applied to all courts.” it said the judges had no intention of rejecting a claim or awarding the recognition undeservedly. “Rest assured, judges don’t have bias in this court. They come from different parts of the country. At this stage of life, it is only the conscience that drives them,” it said.
Advocates Sanjay Hegde, Subramanium Prasad, V Mohana, Mahalakshmi Pavani and Rana Mukherjee were designated as senior advocates by the full court recently.
In her plea, Jaising said her RTI plea asking for the bio-datas of those designated as senior advocates in May 2015 was rejected.