The Supreme Court has issued notices to the secretaries at Union Law Ministry and Bar Council of India and secretary general of the Supreme Court on a special leave petition and a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the advocates-on-record, another class of advocates in the apex court.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil R Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen issued directions in this regard on Wednesday, after hearing senior counsel Ram Jethmalani and Dinesh Dwivedi who appeared for the petitioners. One has to undergo a year’s training under an advocate-on-record and then pass a test to qualify to that post. After becoming an advocate-on-record, one could file cases in the apex court in his/her name.
Other advocates could appear in the apex court and argue cases, but could not file cases in their names.
Jethmalani and Dwivedi contended that the advocate-on-record system in the Supreme Court should be stopped as Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961, granted unqualified substantive right to all advocates enrolled in different Bar Councils to practice the profession of law throughout India, including in the Supreme Court. The petitioners averred that they filed the writ plea against the respondents for enforcement and protection of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution as well as challenging the constitutional validity of Section 52 (b) of Advocates Act, 1961, and Order IV, Rule 5, 6 and 10 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1966, after notification of Section 30 of the Advocates Act.