Law degrees from well-known foreign universities and years of practice does not guarantee a lawyer to earn the `senior advocate’ status from the Supreme Court.
A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice LN Rao stated this last Friday in response to allegations that `senior advocate’ designation was being given to undeserving lawyers through a non-transparent process. without making criteria of evaluation public.
The issue was raised by senior advocate Indira Jaising. She said that there was a perception that senior advocate designations can be gained through lobby and it has become an elite club restricted to a few, a ‘The Times of India’ report has said.
Jaising was also was supported by another senior lawyer A M Singhvi who said there should be a few listed qualities for which an advocate should be assessed. There is also a section of lawyers who are opposing the present system of designating senior advocates.
However, the bench said it assessed advocates on a daily basis when they appeared in front of judges in the apex court, and took note of their knowledge in law, court craft and standing at the bar -the three qualities that play a huge role in promoting a lawyer as senior advocate.
Neither degrees from foreign universities, nor years of practice could make a lawyer earn the senior designation automatically, the bench said. But as several high courts continuing to confer senior advocate status on lawyers who did not even practise before that HC, the words of the bench failed to convince the applicant.