SC upheld the Senior Advocate Designation System and dismissed the advocate’s plea stating that “ It is not arbitrary or unreasonable”

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Today, the Supreme Court (SC) of India dismissed a plea filed by advocates seeking to abolish the Senior Advocate designation system. While dismissing the plea, the bench stated that the mechanism of conferring senior designation on advocates was not arbitrary. The matter was heard by a three-judge bench including Justice CT Ravikumar, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia. The SC upheld the practice affirming the constitutional validity of Sections 16 and 23 of the Advocates Act, 1961. The bench ordered, “The system of designation cannot be said to be untenable and against Article 14. It is not arbitrary or unreasonable. We do not hesitate to say that the plea is a misadventure at the behest of petitioner number 1 (Mathews Nedumpara). It is the largest in his line of misadventures with earlier orders appearing to have no bearing. We dismiss it with no orders as to costs.”

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by six advocates including Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, Advocate Rohini Mohit Amin, Advocate Sharad Vusudeo Koli, Advocate Maria Nedumpara, Advocate Hemali Suresh Kurne, and Advocate Rajesh Vishnu Adrekar.  Along with them, Karan Kaushik (entrepreneur), and Manisha Nimesh Mehta (Chartered Accountant) were also involved. The Senior designation system was challenged by the petitioners on the ground that it created a special class of advocates with special, privileges, rights, and status. The petitioners contended that it was unconstitutional and violated the right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. The petition reads, “A special class of advocates with special rights, privileges, and status not available to ordinary advocates, is unconstitutional, being violative of the mandate of equality under Article 14 and the right to practice any profession under Article 19, as well as the right to life under Article 21.”

The petitioner further said that as per the senior advocate designation system, the legal system was monopolized by a ‘small cabal’ of designated advocates, leaving the meritorious lawyers as ‘ordinary plebians’. Earlier on October 04, the Supreme Court bench reserved its verdict on the matter after hearing the matter for a whole day. Today, the SC upheld the senior advocate designation system and dismissed the plea.