SC dismisses plea challenging apex court rules conferring designation of advocate-on-record, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea which challenged the practice of designating lawyers as ‘advocate-on-record’ under the Supreme Court Rules of 2013 claiming that it creates a special class of advocates. According to the rules framed by the Supreme Court under Article 145 of the Constitution, only advocates designated as advocate-on-record can plead for a party in the apex court.

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, while referring to a constitution bench judgement of 1964 in the case of Lily Thomas, held that there was no doubt that the apex court has the power to designate a special class of advocates as “advocate-on-record” and confer on them special privileges to plead before it.

Referring to Order IV of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, the bench said, “These Rules are not vulnerable for invalidation on the mere ground that it may work injustice in a particular case.”

It said the court is not sitting as an appellate forum seeking to pronounce on the wisdom of the legislation, unless the rule, as in this case, which is a species of subordinate legislation, is afflicted with any of the vices which are too well-known to require any reiteration.

It said if the petitioner Nandini Sharma, a lawyer, does have a complaint against a particular advocate-on-record, she can pursue her remedies under the Advocates Act of 1961.

Sharma, who argued her case as petitioner in-person, said the rules are unreasonable and impractical and create a separate class of advocates, and she should be allowed to do all such things, which are now being permitted only to be done by the Advocate-on-Record.

She has contended that the practice of conferring the special rights on Advocates-on-Record is violative of provisions of Advocates Act of 1961 and referred to a Patna High Court verdict on the classification of lawyers.

During the hearing, the bench told Sharma that there is a constitution bench judgement of the apex court on the issue which upholds the validity of provision of conferring designation of advocate-on-record on the advocates, while the petitioner is relying on the judgement of the Patna High Court.

Advocate Radhika Gautam, appearing for Bar Council of India, referred to several judgements of the top court, including the 1964 judgement of the constitution bench, and said the apex court has continuously maintained that there is nothing wrong in conferring the designation.

She submitted that if the petitioner has any grievances against any particular advocate-on-record, then she can avail her remedy under the Advocates Act.


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