By Shrey Garg
An application has been filed by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising pleading the apex court to declare that the process of secret ballot voting adopted by various high courts for conferring senior designations is arbitrary. She further said that the practice is discriminatory and in contravention to the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment in the case of Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India.
The application is particularly concerned with the decisions of the Delhi and Punjab and Haryana High Court where senior designations have been conferred through secret ballot voting despite the candidates being marked on an ‘objective criterion’ by the Committee of High Court in accordance with the apex court’s judgment in Indira Jaising case.
Jaising argued that allowing this practice to continue will defeat the purpose of the 2017 judgment which was to reduce the degree of subjectivity in conferring senior designations at High Courts. She further added that the judgment clearly mentions that the voting process should be carried out only if it is unavoidable. The intention of the court was to make it an exception and not a norm but various High Courts are using the process as a norm and not as an exception.
She has also asked the court to prescribe the uniform minimum number of marks that a candidate needs to obtain in order to receive the designation of a Senior Advocate.
This application is a miscellaneous application tagged with the 2015 writ petition filed by her which culminated in the 2017 decision by the Supreme Court.
The objective criteria specified by the 5- judge bench included the number of years of practice, judgments (reported and unreported) which indicate the legal formulations advanced by the advocate concerned in the course of proceedings, publications, pro bono work, and domain expertise of the advocate.