Ranjan Gogoi
File image of CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday rescued himself from hearing a plea to declare that all those lawyers who have crossed the age of 60 and have been actively practising at the Bar for more than 30 years be designated as senior advocates.

Advocate Mathews J. Nedumpara appearing for the National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reform sought a re-consideration of the 2017 verdict saying that the matter of designation of lawyers as senior advocates with the full court of the apex court or the full courts of the High Courts were detrimental to the independence of the Bar, its very existence and of the judiciary, say reports.

The plea claimed that the system of designation of the lawyers as seniors led to their classification into two classes- ‘elite class’ which consisted of the kith and kin and juniors of sitting and former judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and those who are politically connected and the ‘first generation’ lawyers.

As Nedumpara began to pour arguments in the case, CJI and Assam’s son of the soil, Ranjan Gogoi said that he did not want to be a part of the bench.

The 2017 verdict had ordered setting up of a committee headed by the CJI, which would be assisted by a secretariat.

The petitioner, an association of lawyers, contended if all those advocates who regularly practiced in court for a considerable period of time cannot be designated as senior advocate, then the decision of the apex court on September 6, 2018 designating some lawyers and retired judges of various High Courts, as senior advocates be held to be violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

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