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SCBA wants new 2013 SC rules delayed: ‘Contrary to normal comity’ between lawyers, judges

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) yesterday passed a resolution unanimously to request the Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha to delay the implementation of the Supreme Court Rules 2013 and seek feedback from its members for the next 10 days.

The rules, which were notified earlier this week, are planned to come into effect on 19 August 2014, and have included changes such as banning junior lawyers with less than one year of experience from arguing and specifying examples of advocate-on-record (AOR) misconduct, such as “name-lending” or not turning up to hearings [see further additions below].

However, the SCBA protested that the changes had been “made without inviting any suggestions or even views whatsoever either from the members of the [SCBA] or even with the 21 elected representatives”, and were only shared with the SCBA on 22 July after the notification had already been published.

Since the new rules affected litigants and members of the bar, it was “contrary to the normal comity between the Bench and the Bar”, said the SCBA, appealing to Supreme Court judgment’s “principles of natural justice and fair play”.

The new Rules will substantially change the situation existing for several decades and will have wide ramifications for the administration of justice, in which members of the bar are equal stakeholders…

The consultation of practising lawyers would have allowed them to “give reasons… to review, modify or completely change certain provisions of the Rules”.

Other changes in the new Rules

A Legally India commenter wrote, analysing the Rules:

i) There's a steep increase in the Court Fees, earlier for filing a Civil SLP the court fee was Rs 250 now it’s Rs 1,500 and for every application it is Rs 100 which means the poor and people from Low Income Groups who do not approach the SCLSC and prefer to engage a private lawyer of their choice would find it difficult to approach SC.

ii) Party in Persons cannot directly file Petitions - first they have to file an application to appear as party in person which will be scrutinized by the registrar who would advise him/her to opt for a panel of lawyers from SCLSC or Amicus Curie and if the court is satisfied that the party in person can assist the court in an effective manner only then his/her application will be allowed.

iii) Applications for Exemption from filing official translation is listed before chamber judge, further the condonotion the delay in refiling has been reduced from 90 days to 60 days. It virtually means almost every SLP will be first listed before Chamber Judge and then posted before the Court.

Another commenter, Faisal Farook, wrote:

A major change in the new 2013 Rules comes in the form of Order VI Rule 3 which provides that "Every cause, appeal or other proceedings arising out of a case in which death sentence has been confirmed or awarded by the High Court shall be heard by a Bench consisting of not less than three Judges."

The erstwhile Rules of 1966, which contained the provision for Constitution of Benches in Order VII, did not contain any such provision. In fact, this argument was raised before the Constitution Bench and a prayer was made in the Batch of matters led by W.P. (Crl.) No. 137 of 2010 (C. Muniappam Vs. Registrar, Supreme Court of India) that Death sentence cases should be heard by a Bench of at least 3 or 5 Judges and an exception should be carved out for Death sentence matters.
During the course of hearing it was pointed out by the learned Chief Justice that the amendment sought for has already been incorporated in the new Rules.

SCBA notice on new SC rules by legallyindia

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