OP. ED.

In cricket, both for fast bowlers and medium-pacers mastering the art of reverse swing is crucial to ensure that they do not get booted out of their teams. In the same manner, in the legal field today, I am trying to explore this reverse swing with the hope that I may not get booted out.

There is a big list of advisory literature and lectures on the subject: “What Judges expect from lawyers”. However, there is hardly any direct and explicit view on vice versa i.e. ‘What advocates expect from Judges’. Although, it is customary in our system that Judges sitting higher on the Bench and having reins of majesty of law, their expectations should be given preference and more weightage, as dispensing justice is considered a more pious duty than the job of the advocates, who represent the litigants for their respective cases. No doubt, the lawyers are also the officers of the court and they always try to satisfy the litigants’ desire for justice by performing their legal duties, but in the legal world, consumers of justice are ignored much, than being recognised in its true perspective.

I am, however, attempting to address this issue based upon some experience I have. The Supreme Court of Canada has said: ‘The Judge is pillar of entire judicial system.’[1] This also applies in India. The great Socrates defined the four personal qualities of a Judge, which has become famous: ‘to hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly and to decide impartially’. All the same, Judges are also human beings and so, they are not free from any fallibility. Of course, it varies from Judge to Judge, but it is imperative to understand from an advocate’s standpoint of view that how s/he sees the Judge. What he/she expects from the Judge. The inner and outer expectations of the lawyers also differ within themselves and from junior or new entrant in the profession to a seasoned senior; hopes from the Judge/s are diverse in various categories. However, there are some general points, which all advocates want and wish from the judge to consider their case/s in the given set of facts and law. I have tried to summarise the same in the following manner without repeating those four things what Socrates had said above. However, these are only illustrative and not exhaustive at all.

  1. Advocates want Judges to allow them to develop their case a little bit more, even if it is a fresh matter for admission and the Judge has already read it in advance. Of course, some Judges hear patiently even if they know there is nothing in the matter, but some are impatient by themselves and before an advocate rises to address, it is determined as ‘dismissed’. Sometimes, advocates are aware of the weakness in their own cases, but because the law is not settled, they seek a fighting chance, as there are liberal Judges and there are strict Judges. Notions for issuing notice or not also have diverging views. Hence, there is nothing wrong, if an advocate could be heard for a little more time.
  2. Advocates wish that Judges should be open till the end of the matter and should not close their minds with preconceived notions. Many lawyers feel this thing in a variety of cases. However, there is no harm in changing the opinion even at a last moment, if ultimately there is a point to consider the matter. Open-mindedness is always better for just adjudication process.
  3. Moreover, one cannot change the facts, but by interpreting the law, relief can be molded in the interest of justice, equity and good conscience, as we have inherited it from the common law tradition. Hence, endeavour should be made to see that justice is done. Arguments and counter-arguments are not the game, which is played in the courtroom. The Bench should be concerned in finding out the truth and not to watch the performance of the lawyers, unlike a wrestling match. However, to discover the truth is the most difficult task for the Judge, as sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction and it is said: Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.
  4. Advocates want and deeply wish for an equal treatment with all the members of the Bar/profession irrespective of their standing and status as senior counsel/advocate while addressing the courts. Junior members of the Bar hardly envy of status of senior counsel/advocate, as they have full respect for them and they know that seniors have earned it by sheer hard work and talent, but what pinch them is some special treatment by a certain Bench. Painfully, the Judges justify them by saying: they have a good point, which ordinary lawyer will not be able to see because they carve out from even from a dead horse. This is debatable and most of the members of the Bar would hardly agree with this, considering on the same point, a junior advocate is snubbed by the same court, wherein the senior counsel is entertained. Here, there is hardly any need to cite specific instances, as practicing advocates see this day in day out. Nevertheless, there is not an iota of grudge or any kind of resentment against the learned seniors of this noble profession, as they are always respected and torchbearers of this noble profession, who have set highest traditions and examples for new generation, but the point is: if other things being equal, similar treatment by the Bench is required to be given to all, of course fairly and justly.
  5. And last, but not the least is: behavior of the Judge, when s/he adorns the Bench. Judges do mark conduct of the advocates while they are arguing; in the same manner, the advocates are also noticing the behavior of the Judge, while he/she is hearing the case. Sometimes, advocates understand that due to heavy workload and unbearable backlog, Judges tend to be disturbed, perturbed and become agitated on the Bench and the lawyers tolerate this by keeping quiet or sometimes with smiling face. But, if this happens every day and the mood swings of the Bench, then, it makes difficult for the advocates to conduct the case as per their preparation of the matters.

In the Indian legal system, more particularly, in litigation, as soon as fresh advocates enter in the profession, first thing they learn is about the face-law. Some seniors used to say and sometimes they rightly say: before knowing the law, know your Judge. Meaning thereby, see and observe: how s/he deals with the case, in what manner and most importantly – what s/he likes and what s/he dislikes. Law is what, Judge says.

I conclude by citing the memorable words of great Judge Justice M.C. Chagala from his autobiography ‘Roses in December’, which I quote: “Discourtesy to the Bar is essentially evidence of weakness in the Judge. Losing one’s temper while counsel is arguing is a reflection only of the  Judge’s own failing and his inability to control the Bar…’


*Advocate practicing at Gujarat High Court and Visiting Professor at Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad

[1] The Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, “The Qualities Required of a Judge” http://www.cscjaacjcs, (8 May, 2017)

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In order to further contain the spread of COVID-19, Delhi High Court notified that till further orders, while appearing before this High Court or its Subordinate Courts, through videoconferencing or otherwise, the Advocates are exempted from wearing gowns, coats, Sherwanis, Achkans, Chapkans and Jackets.

However, they shall be dressed in a sober and dignified manner and expected to adhere to the rest of the Dress Code, as prescribed in Part VI, Chapter IV of the Bar Council of India Rules (Rules framed under Section 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961).

The above directions shall come into force with immediate effect.


Delhi High Court

[Circular dt. 25-05-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

On 13.05.2020, the Supreme Court notified that all the advocates to wear “plain white-shirt/white-salwar-kameez/ white saree, with a plainwhite neck band” during the hearings before the Supreme Court of India through Virtual Court System till medical exigencies exist or until further orders. The said decision was taken after considering the medical advice, as a precautionary measure to contain spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection under the prevailing conditions.

Click here to read the Notification.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

A virus infection that originated from the Republic of China in the month of December, 2019 has taken the entire globe in its grip in last four months.

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Siddhartha Verma, J. while addressing a PIL noted that,

Wheel of human civilization is in serious combat with the pandemic caused by the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19).

Issue in the present Public Interest Litigation is that, the judicial working in the entire country has reduced its pace and is taking up matters of utmost urgency alone.

The slow down has adversely affected livelihood of lakhs of people, whose survival depends upon working of the judiciary. An enormous effect is apparently visible on the profession of Advocates and the Registered Advocate Clerks working with them. 

Several Lawyers and the registered Advocate Clerks have mentioned that they are at the verge of starvation.

This Court is not having any funds to allocate for survival of needy Advocates and registered Advocate Clerks and the Court at the moment is also not in a position to restore its complete functioning.

Essentially, under the Advocates Act, 1961 it is the responsibility of the Bar Council of India as well as the State Bar Councils to ensure welfare of Advocates fraternity and also to assist the needy Advocates.

To provide for the establishment and operation of a fund for promotion and welfare of Advocates in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh State Legislature enacted an Act in the name of “The Uttar Pradesh Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1974”.

Court in its opinion, stated that, it is for the Bar Council of India, Bar Council of the State of Uttar Pradesh and Trustees Committee under the Act of 1974 to have necessary schemes to assist the needy Advocates in this harsh period.

Bench also observed that, no steps so far by any of the bodies aforesaid to assist the needy Advocates and the people attached with their office.

In every Court attached Bar Associations there are several Lawyers having lucrative practice and they too can assist financially or otherwise to the Bar Councils as well as Bar Associations for having some definite plan to assist the needy Advocates and their Clerks, who are registered with High Court or other courts in accordance with the applicable Rules.

Bar Council of Delhi and Allahabad, Allahabad High Court bar Association, Allahabad High Court Advocate’s Association, Awadh Bar Association have been issued a notice in regard to the above as to what steps have been taken by them.

Matter listed on 15-04-2020.[Assistance To The Needy Advocates And Registered Advocate Clerks, In Re v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 291, decided on 09-04-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and C. Hari Shankar, J., clarified the earlier order dated 03-11-2019 passed in connection with the recent scuffle that took place at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex between Advocates and Police personals.

In its order dated 03-11-2019, the High Court had directed that no coercive action shall be taken against the Advocates involved in the incident. In the same order, the Court had made certain observations against the Delhi Police and named certain officers responsible for the unfortunate incident.

Two separate applications were filed: one by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India and the other by the Delhi Police. The home ministry sought clarification of the earlier order, to the effect that there is no impediment in taking action against the erring Advocates. The Delhi Police, on the other hand, prayed for modification of the earlier order, to the effect that the observations made against the DelhiPolice be excluded so that they could not be read as conclusive findings against the police officers in question.

On such applications being filed, the High Court clarified its earlier order dated 3-11-2019, to the effect that the direction protecting Advocates against coercive action only relates to the FIRs, filed on 2-11-2019 pertaining to the scuffle that broke out at Tis Hazari Courts, and not against any incident that took place thereafter. Also, in regard to observations made against certain Police officers, the High Court clarified that such observations were only prima facie and tentative in nature; the facts are to be proved on the basis of evidence on record without being influenced by such observations.

Before parting with the order, the High Court noted a sense of anguish over the instant state of affairs. It observed:

“In our view, therefore, it would be advisable, in this case, that a joint meeting, of responsible representatives of the Advocates and the police establishment, be convened, who should make a sincere effort to meet and sort out their differences amicably, on the basis of discussion and deliberations, with the objective of dissolution of their differences, which, in our view, have essentially arisen owing to a communication gap, during the last few days. We are hopeful that, if a sincere attempt is made in this direction, peace and harmony will ultimately prevail.”

The applications were disposed of accordingly. [Tis Hazari Incident, In re (Court on its own Motion v. Union of India), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10918, decided on 06-11-2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for appointment of following four Judicial Officers as Judges of the Orissa High Court:

  1. Shri Satya Narayan Mishra
  2. Shri Bibhu Prasad Routray
  3. Shri Gautam Sharma, and
  4. Shri Biranchi Narayan Mohanty.

AND;

Proposal for appointment of following eight Advocates as Judges of the Orissa High Court:

  1. Shri Gautam Mukherji,
  2. Shri Samir Kumar Mishra,
  3. Shri Prasanna Kumar Parhi,
  4. Ms. Savitri Ratho,
  5. Shri Prafulla Kumar Rath,
  6. Shri Durga Prasad Nanda,
  7. Shri Pravat Kumar Muduli, and
  8. Shri Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi.

On the basis of interaction and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that Shri Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi, Advocate (mentioned at Sl. No. 8 above) is suitable for being appointed as Judge of the Orissa High Court.

As regards Ms. Savitri Ratho, (mentioned at Sl. No. 4 above), consideration of the proposal for her elevation is deferred for the present.

As regards S/Shri (1) Gautam Mukherji, (2) Samir Kumar Mishra, (3) Prasanna Kumar Parhi, (4) Prafulla Kumar Rath, (5) Durga Prasad Nanda, and (6) Pravat Kumar Muduli, Advocates, having regard to the material on record and all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that their cases deserve to be remitted to the High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.

Collegium is of the considered view that Shri Bibhu Prasad Routray, Judicial Officer (mentioned at Sl. No. 2 above) is suitable for being appointed as Judge of the Orissa High Court.

As regards S/Shri (1) Satya Narayan Mishra, (2) Gautam Sharma, and (3) Biranchi Narayan Mohanty, Judicial Officers, having regard to the material on record and all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that their cases deserve to be remitted to the High Court.


Supreme Court of India

[Collegium Resolution dt. 03-10-2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for the appointment of following 4 Advocates as Judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and 3 Advocates as Judges of the Telangana High Court:

1 Shri R. Raghunandan Rao (A.P.),
2 Shri T. Vinod Kumar (Telangana),
3 Shri Battu Devanand (A.P.),
4 Shri D. Ramesh (A.P.),
5 Shri A. Abhishek Reddy (Telangana),
6 Shri N. Jayasurya (A.P.) and
7 Shri K. Lakshman (Telangana)

On the basis of interaction, material on record and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ. is of the considered view that S/Shri (1) R. Raghunandan Rao, (2) T. Vinod Kumar, (3) Battu Devanand, (4) D. Ramesh, (5) A. Abhishek Reddy, (6) N. Jayasurya and (7) K. Lakshman are suitable for being elevated to the High Court Bench.

Therefore, in view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that:

(i) S/Shri (1) R. Raghunandan Rao, (2) Battu Devanand, (3) D. Ramesh and (4) N. Jayasurya be appointed as Judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice; and

(ii) S/Shri (1) T. Vinod Kumar, (2) A. Abhishek Reddy and (3) K. Lakshman be appointed as Judges of the Telangana High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice.


[Collegium Resolution dt. 25-07-2019]

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for appointment of 8 Advocates, as Judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court:

1. Shri Jasgurpreet Singh Puri,
2. Shri Suvir Sehgal,
3. Shri Girish Agnihotri,
4. Mrs. Alka Sarin,
5. Shri Inder Pal Singh Doabia,
6. Shri Kamal Sehgal,
7. Shri Puneet Bali and
8. Shri Vikas Bahl

On the basis of interaction, material on record and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ. is of the considered view that S/Shri (1) Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, (2) Suvir Sehgal, (3) Girish Agnihotri, (4) Mrs. Alka Sarin, and (5) Kamal Sehgal are suitable for being appointed as Judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

As regards S/Shri (1) Puneet Bali and (2) Vikas Bahl (mentioned at Sl. Nos.7 and 8 above), the Collegium is of the considered view that consideration of the proposal for their elevation deserves to be deferred. Collegium was also of the view that  Shri Inder Pal Singh Doabia deserves to be remitted to the High Court.

Therefore, the Collegium resolves to recommend that S/Shri (1) Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, (2) Suvir Sehgal, (3) Girish Agnihotri, (4) Mrs. Alka Sarin, and (5) Kamal Sehgal, Advocates be appointed as Judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court. 


[Collegium Resolution dt. 25-07-2019]

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for appointment of following 9 Advocates, as Judges of the Karnataka High Court:

1. Shri Savanur Vishwajith Shetty
2. Shri Singapuram Raghavachar Krishna Kumar
3. Shri Maralur Indrakumar Arun
4. Shri Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal
5. Shri Ashok Subhashchandra Kinagi
6. Shri Govindaraj Suraj
7. Shri Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh
8. Shri Sachin Shankar Magadum
9. Smt. Bangalore Vasudevaiah Vidyulatha

As regards Smt. Bangalore Vasudevaiah Vidyulatha (mentioned at Sl. No. 9 above) having regard to all relevant factors and the material placed in the file, the Collegium is of the considered view that the proposal for her elevation deserves to be remitted to the Karnataka High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.

In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that S/Shri (1) Savanur Vishwajith Shetty, (2) Singapuram Raghavachar Krishna Kumar, (3) Maralur Indrakumar Arun, (4) Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal, (5) Ashok Subhashchandra Kinagi, (6) Govindaraj Suraj, (7) Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh, and (8) Sachin Shankar Magadum, Advocates be appointed as Judges of the Karnataka High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice.

Collegium Resolution

[Dated: 25-03-2019]

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for appointment as Judges of Bombay High Court was made for 10 Advocates, namely:

1. Shri Avinash G. Gharote
2. Shri N.B. Suryawanshi
3. Shri Avinash S. Deshmukh
4. Ms. Manjari Dhanesh Shah
5. Shri J.R. Shah
6. Shri Madhav Jamdar
7. Shri Anil Kilor
8. Shri Abhay Kumar Ahuja
9. Shri Devidas Pangam
10. Shri Milind Narendra Jadhav

On the basis of interaction and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that S/Shri (1) Avinash G. Gharote, (2) N.B. Suryawanshi, (3) Madhav Jamdar, (4) Anil Kilor, and (5) Milind Narendra Jadhav (mentioned at Sl. Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10 above) are suitable for being appointed as Judges of the Bombay High Court.

As regards S/Shri (1) Avinash S. Deshmukh, (2) Ms. Manjari Dhanesh Shah, (3) J.R. Shah, and (4) Devidas Pangam, (mentioned at
Sl. Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 9 above) having regard to all relevant factors and the material placed in the file, the Collegium is of the considered view that the proposal for their elevation deserves to be remitted to the Bombay High Court.

As regards Shri Abhay Kumar Ahuja (mentioned at Sl. No.8 above), consideration of the proposal for his elevation is deferred for being taken up on receipt of certain information from the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that S/Shri (1) Avinash G. Gharote, (2) N.B. Suryawanshi, (3) Madhav Jamdar, (4) Anil Kilor, and (5) Milind Narendra Jadhav, Advocates be appointed as Judges of the Bombay High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice.

Collegium Resolutions

Dated: 25-03-2019

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ., recommends for the appointment of following three Advocates, as Judges of the Kerala High Court:

1.  Conrad Stansilaus Dias
2. Mohammed Nias C.P.
3. Paul K.K.

Collegium stated in regard to the above names stated that,

“For purpose of assessing merit and suitability of the above-named recommendees for elevation to the High Court, we have carefully scrutinized the material placed in the file including the observations made by the Department of Justice therein. Apart from this, we considered it appropriate to have interaction with all the recommendees. On the basis of interaction and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that S/Shri (1) Conrad Stansilaus Dias, (2) Mohammed Nias C.P., and (3) Paul K.K., are suitable for being appointed as Judges of the Kerala High Court.”

In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that S/Shri (1) Conrad Stansilaus Dias, (2) Mohammed Nias C.P., and (3) Paul K.K., Advocates, be appointed as Judges of the Kerala High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice.

[Dated 25-03-2019]

Collegium Resolution

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ., dismissed the petition filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking ban on legislators practising as advocates.

The petitioner, in his plea, claimed that the parliamentarians and legislators, practising as lawyers, posed a conflict of interest and violated the provisions of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules. Furthermore, such legislators take a fee from litigants and salary from the public exchequer, which is professional misconduct.

However, the Supreme Court stated that there is no rule that debars lawmakers from practising in the Courts. Court takes note of stand of Bar Council of India (BCI). Therefore, the Court held that Rule 49 is not applicable to law makers who are not full-time salaried employees.

[Source: https://twitter.com/TheLeaflet_in]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ asked chief justices or acting chief justices of all high courts to set up anti-sexual harassment committees in courts across the country within two months in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by a practising woman advocate who alleged that she had been assaulted by some lawyers observing a strike at the Tis Hazari district court complex. Asking the crime branch of Delhi Police to investigate the cross complaints filed by the lawyers, the Bench asked the woman lawyer and the Bar leaders to amicably settle their disputes and directed that advocates from both sides should not be arrested in connection with the two cross FIRs filed by them against each other.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 requires every workplace to set up committees to probe sexual harassment complaints.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the Entry Tax matter listed before a 9-judge bench of the Court, all the Advocates appearing in these matters are asked to file their respective submissions/compilations to Mr. Harish Salve, Ld. Senior Advocate as well as the Court as per the directions given via the order (2016 SCC OnLine SC 556) dated 11.05.2016 .  The matters will be listed before the bench in the week commencing 18.07.2016.

In the aforementioned order, the bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and R. Banumati and U.U. Lalit, JJ had refused to entertain the interim applications and had said that the matter should be finally heard in the month of July, 2016. The Court had also made clear that none of the counsel shall be permitted to seek any adjournment on the dates fixed for hearing. The Court had permitted Mr. Harish N. Salve to file a common comprehensive compilation of all submissions on each one of the questions that have been referred for determination by the larger Bench. This would include suggestions which other counsel appearing in the connected matters may have to make including citing the decided cases relied upon by them or any additional facets that they may like to project in support of their cases. [Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana, Civil Appeal No. 3453 of 2002, notice dated 20.06.2016]