Revised Scheme/Guidelines for engaging Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistants in the Supreme Court of India

The revised scheme/guidelines for engaging Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistants in the Supreme Court are as follows:

  • Nature of engagement of Law Clerks shall be purely on short-term contractual basis for the duration of the assessment session (the period from re-opening of the Court after Summer Vacation till the closure of the Court for Summer Vacation of the Court for next year), which is liable to be extended further on the discretion of the Hon’ble Judge with whom he/she is attached on the basis of his/her performance during the session.
  • The contractual assignment shall not confer upon the Law Clerk any right/claim for regular appointment or continuance in service beyond the period of engagement in the Supreme Court.
  • Requirement of prior notice in writing at least one month in advance from Law Clerk if he intends to leave assignment at premature stage.
  • Hon’ble the Chief Justice and each Hon’ble Judge is entitled to have services of a maximum of two Law Clerks, of whom the first one is selected from the approved panel and, the other one as a candidate of choice.
  • Assessment of requirement of Law Clerks for an assessment session is done by Assistant Registrar-cum-Private Secretaries, and a maximum of six Law Clerks shall be kept in the reserve pool for meeting any emergent requirement.
  • The candidate must be a law graduate or may be a fifth year student of Five-years Integrated law course from any School/College/University/lnstitute established by law in India and recognized by the BCI on the date of appearing at interview, and must have desired information from various search engines such as SCC Online, Manupatra, West Law etc. He must not be a practicing advocate nor engaged/appointed elsewhere on honorarium/payment basis.
  • The candidate must submit a certificate to prove his absolute integrity, honesty and good moral character, and that he should not have been involved in any criminal case.
  • Every year in month of January, the Registry invites applications for Law Clerks by way of an advertisement, which is required to be submitted online with scanned signature and photograph. Thereafter, a National Level Written Examination is conducted for filtering the candidates. The Written test comprise of 150 questions with multiple choice questions and a negative marking of 0.25 for each incorrect answer. A minimum qualifying marks of 60% in aggregate and minimum 50% for each of the two Sections in the paper has been prescribed. Based on the merit, the candidates are called for a personal interview carrying 30 marks by a committee of Hon’ble Judges constituted by Hon’ble Chief Justice in the month of May/June each year in the Supreme Court premises. Thereafter, Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistants are selected for the assessment session based on marks secured by them in the Written test and Interview.
  • The Hon’ble Chief Justice approves formation of a panel as per requirement for the assignment session and makes an order for attachment of one or two Law Clerk(s) to each of the Hon’ble Judges including himself.
  • If any Hon’ble Judge within one month of appointment of the said Law Clerk conveys his unwillingness to continue with the Law Clerk assigned to him, the candidature of that Law Clerk will be cancelled, and the Hon’ble Judge will be given a choice of selecting a suitable incumbent from amongst the candidates left on the panel.
  • A fixed consolidated stipend of Rs.30000/- per month without any dearness or other allowance/perquisites shall be paid to the Law Clerk, subjected to a leave of absence to a maximum of fraction of 8 days per year, vis-a-vis his/her period of assignment.
  • The Law Clerks are assigned for a full time job and they may be required to attend Office/ Residential Office of concerned Hon’ble Judge in addition to normal duty during office hours and even on gazetted/local holidays.
  • The duties and responsibilities of a Law Clerk includes preparing brief summary of fresh admission matter; synopsis of regular hearing matters; sitting in the Court during hearing of regular matters and noting down all the arguments; carrying out research work for assisting the Hon’ble Judge in preparation of draft judgments; assist the Hon’ble Judge to prepare speeches and academic papers; and to perform any other work as directed by the Hon’ble Judge.
  • The Law Clerk shall maintain utmost secrecy in respect of matters which come to his/her notice by virtue of the assignment and shall ensure that no information, document or any other thing is leaked out during and after his/her term of assignment. And, that the Law Clerk will be governed by the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Official Secrets Act, 1923 as applicable to any public servant.
  • The Law Clerk will not accept any other assignment during term of assignment as Law Clerk. He/She shall not practice as an Advocate in any Court of Law during the course of assignment as Law Clerk.
  • The Law Clerk shall not practice in the Supreme Court of India for a period of one year after the relinquishment of assignment. He/She shall also not at any time practice and appear before the Hon’ble Judge with whom he/she has been attached as Law Clerk.
  • The candidate will be issued a certificate by the Registrar after the successful completion of the term of assignment. And, if the assignment is terminated before completion at the premature stage, certificate shall not be issued to the candidate unless the Hon’ble Judge with whom he/she was attached directs otherwise.

The candidate is required to submit an Undertaking before the Registrar before taking over the assignment. The Undertaking states that the Law Clerk-

  • shall be engaged purely on contractual basis and he cannot claim as an employee of the Court.
  • shall not be entitled to any experience certificate if he gives up the assignment before completing the term, and that his period of assignment can be terminated without any notice.
  • shall be punctual in attending his duties, which may be at the Court/Chambers/Residential Office of Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India/Hon’ble Judge.
  • shall not absent himself from duty without prior permission of the Hon’ble Judge, or prior information thereto in case of emergency.
  • shall maintain utmost secrecy in respect of matters which come to his/her notice by virtue of the assignment during or after the period of assessment session.
  • shall be governed by the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Official Secrets Act, 1923 as applicable to any public servant.
  • shall not practice as an Advocate in any Court of Law during the course of assignment, and that he/she shall not practice in the Supreme Court for a period of one year after the relinquishment of assignment, and appear before the Hon’ble Judge with whom he/she have been attached as Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistant.

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