The Supreme Court has issued new guidelines for designating senior advocates, replacing the existing 2017 guidelines. Under the new regulations, lawyers with a minimum of 10 years of standing and aged 45 years or above are eligible to apply. The applications will be reviewed by a committee comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI), two senior most judges, the Attorney General, and a bar representative, who will meet twice a year to assess the candidates. The age criteria may be relaxed by the committee, and the CJI can directly recommend a candidate without considering the age bar.
Years of Practice and Specialized Expertise
- To be eligible, lawyers must have 10 years of practice or a combined experience of practice and service as a judicial officer or a judicial member in a tribunal for a cumulative period of 10 years.
- Lawyers with expertise in practicing before specialized tribunals will be given concession with regard to the extent of appearances in the Supreme Court.
- The scrutiny process will consider the number of judgments presented by the applicants, carrying a maximum of 50 points.
- Legal publications have been given reduced weightage of 5 points, including contributions in teaching assignments and guest lectures in the field of law.
Interview Process and Full Court Scrutiny
The shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the Full Court, comprising all judges. This segment will carry 25 points in the assessment process.
Transparency and Objectivity in Designation
- The new guidelines were largely influenced by the Supreme Court’s previous decision in 2017, which aimed to establish uniform procedures for designating senior advocates.
- The assessment process now includes contributions through publications of legal articles, teaching assignments, and guest lectures, aiming to have a more “holistic reflection” of the advocate’s ability to contribute to the development of the law.
- The new guidelines aim to ensure transparency and objectivity in the selection process.
Deadline for Applications
- Candidates who had previously submitted their applications are requested to reapply, modify their existing applications, or withdraw them by August 7.
- Former chief justices and high court judges are eligible to apply for senior designation, but those who have accepted or agreed to accept any full-time assignment will not be considered for the designation until they hold that assignment.