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Supreme Court Dismissed Plea Challenging Advocates-on-Record System, Only Apex Court has Power to Confer Right to Plead

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Supreme Court LAW INSIDER

Savvy Thakur

Published on: 17 November 2022 at 11:25 IST

The top court dismissed the plea challenging, the procedure of designating Advocates-on-Records in accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution and Order IV of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013.

There was no doubt that the apex court had the power to designate a special class of advocates and confer on them special privileges to act and plead before them,” held by Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy.

The Bench noted that “the mere fact that it may work injustice in a particular case does not render these rules invalid.”

“Unless they are instructed to do so by an Advocate-on-Record, only members of this exclusive group of advocates are permitted to represent a party in the Supreme Court.”

The petitioner argued that she should have the right to “do all the things that are now permitted only to be done by Advocates-on-Record,” in response to the “unreasonableness and impracticality” of the challenged rules. The petitioner also added that this practice of giving Advocates-on-Record special rights was against Section 30 of the Advocates Act of 1961.

The petitioner also cited a Patna High Court decision in which a Full Bench addressed a similar classification system that was implemented in the state by the contentious Registration of Advocates as Advocate-on-Record of the Patna High Court Rules, 2009. The court in that case held that the High Court has the ability to approach Rules under Section 34 of the Demonstration, yet in such a way that the option to rehearse isn’t removed.

Then, the apex court stated categorically rejecting the petitioner’s argument “Article 145 read with Section 52(b) of the Advocates Act puts the matter beyond the pale, that the Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to provide for the persons who can act or plead before it,”.

Advocate Radhika Gautam, representing the Bar Council of India, vehemently refuted the petitioner’s claims in person and guided the court through a number of rulings, including an In Re: Unknown v. Lily Isabel Thomas.

Further, Gautam added that, “If the petitioner has a complaint against any specific Advocate-on-Record, she is allowed to proceed under the relevant provisions of the Advocates Act,”

The Court stated, “Because it has the authority to judicially review legislation, including subordinate legislation, the court is invited. Unless the rule, as in this case, which is a species of subordinate legislation, is afflicted with any of the vices that are far too well-known to require any reiteration.

“The court is not sitting as an appellate forum seeking to pronounce on the wisdom of the legislation. It is elementary that the court is not sitting as an appellate forum. It is not susceptible to invalidation simply because it might result in injustice in a particular instance.”

The court continued that, “In this regard, we may take note of the fact that the petition does contain a complaint against a specific Advocate-on-Record, who is listed as the second respondent. Although it is not out of the question that the implementation of any law will result in some injustice and difficulties, this does not provide the solid legal foundation necessary to challenge a provision whose authority derives from a constitutional provision.”

The court concluded with statement that, “The requirement to pass an examination that tests one’s skills in a variety of areas cannot be called unreasonable or arbitrary to the point where this court should intervene and invalidate such rules.”

The writ petition has been dismissed by the bench.