A day after a batch of advocates complained about Senior Advocates eating away their chances of getting urgent dates for hearing, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Wednesday asked the designated senior lawyers not to orally mention their cases henceforth.
As soon as the mentioning began at 10.30 am on Wednesday morning, the CJI stopped Senior Advocates from seeking accommodation for urgent or out of turn listing of cases.
“Only Advocates on Record (AoRs) will mention henceforth,” retorted the CJI. AoR is a class of lawyers in the top court who are eligible to file petitions.
Justice Misra’s step is in line with what one of his predecessors had done. As a CJI, Justice RM Lodha had also asked Seniors to refrain from mentioning matters and let AoRs and other associate lawyers do so. Justice Lodha had observed this would help junior lawyers shed hesitation to argue in the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday morning, Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Rajeev Dhavan, Meenakshi Arora, Anand Grover, Maninder Singh and a couple of other designated Seniors had queued up sharp at 10.30 to make oral mentioning of their cases and get suitable dates for hearing.
In the next 15 minutes, many of these Seniors even mentioned multiple cases and CJI Misra issued instructions to the registry to fix these matters for hearing.
Known for his patience, Justice Misra however lost his cool when some junior lawyers, in their anxiety, started arguing simultaneously.
“Enough is enough. I am not going to hear mentioning matters any more. All these cases, if there are no objections, will come up for hearing on October 3,” said the CJI.
But advocate PV Dinesh still came forward. “I have something to say my Lord. It is not just about my case. Please give me an audience,” said Dinesh.
The lawyer went on to add: “We, junior lawyers, have been waiting for 20 minutes to mention our cases but when our turn came, my lord is refusing to hear us. All Senior Advocates were mentioning earlier and we have not got any opprtunity. Will litigants who can’t afford senior lawyers not get a chance?” asked Dinesh.
The CJI replied that Dinesh perhaps did not hear him well when he said that all cases will come up of October 3. “We can’t spend whole day in mentioning. This court has to also hear other cases…and we don’t need to learn from anyone what we should do,” said the CJI.
But Dinesh retorted: “My lords are right. Other cases are also to be heard. What I want to bring to your attention is that if Senior Advocates can mention multiple cases, won’t others not get a chance to mention even one case? In my case, I have peculiar circumstances and I would request for an opportunity to mention since October 3 may not suit my client.”
At this, Justice Misra gave Dinesh an audience and passed suitable orders but the issue remained unresolved as to whether junior lawyers will have equal opportunity.
Source: Bar and Bench