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SC bans 1-year juniors from arguing hearings, outlaws AOR’s name-lending & disappearance

Apart from capping the upper limit of summer vacations, the Supreme Court’s new Supreme Court Rules 2013 include at least two other major procedural changes (see below).

No newbies

First, the Supreme Court rules now state that advocates enrolled for less than one year can not address the court “for the purpose of any effective hearing”, though they can appear for “the limited purpose of asking for time, date, adjournment and similar such orders”.

Supreme Court advocate-on-record (AOR) Dr Charu Mathur commented that she had mixed feelings about the change. I understand the enthusiasm of new passout to go and argue a matter on very first day! But it is a huge positive step. Kids need to learn. Other day one Judge asked a newbie what punishment was inflicted by trial court and he replied it is usually given in the last para of order! Hon'ble Judge asked him how long he is being practising and he replied few months. Judge asked him to read and tell them what sentence was given.”

Regulating AORs

The rules also added three examples of when AORs could be subject to disciplinary measures, that could include removal of their name from the AOR register and referral to the state bar council and Bar Council of India (BCI).

Notably, “misconduct unbecoming of an advocate” would now include “name lending” by AORs “without any further participation in the proceedings of the case”, “absence” of the AOR from a “case taken up for hearing” “without any justifiable cause”, and “failure to submit” the signed appearance slip of actual appearances in court.

Mathur commented: “This is a positive step though with certain level of difficulties. It may not entirely be possible to present in each and every case.”

The new rules have also capped summer holidays at seven weeks, though average summer holidays have only been 45 days long in recent years.

Editor’s note: If anybody has super-advanced red-lining skills or an eagle eye, please do let us know about other important changes or additions to the rules

Additions to 1966 rules by 2013 in bold

Order IV: Advocates

I (a) Subject to the provisions of these rules an advocate whose name is entered on the roll of any State Bar Council maintained under the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961) as amended shall be entitled to appear before the Court:

Provided that an advocate whose name is entered on the roll of any State Bar Council maintained under the Advocates Act. 1961 (25 of 1961), for less than one year, shall be entitled to mention matters in Court for the limited purpose of asking for time, date, adjournment and similar such orders, but shall not be entitled to address the Court for the purpose of any effective hearing:

Provided further that the Court may, if it thinks desirable to do so for any reason, permit any person to
appear and address the Court in a particular case.


[8A. When, on the complaint of any person or otherwise, the Court is of the opinion that an advocate on record has been guilty of misconduct or of conduct unbecoming of an advocate on record, the Court may make an order removing his name from the register of advocates on record either permanently or for such period as the Court may think fit and the Registrar shall thereupon report the said fact to the Bar Council of India and to State Bar Council concerned:

Provided that the Court shall, before making such order, issue to such advocate on record a summons returnable before the Court or before a Special Bench to be constituted by the Chief Justice, requiring the advocate on record to show cause against the matters alleged in the summons, and the summons shall, if practicable, be served personally upon him with copies of any affidavit or statement before the Court at the time of the issue of the summons.]

Explanation.- For the purpose of these rules, misconduct or conduct unbecoming of an advocate-on-record shall include.
a) Mere name lending by an advocate-on-record without any further participation in the proceedings of the case;
b) Absence of the advocate-on-record from the Court without any justifiable cause when the case is taken up for hearing; and
c) Failure to submit appearance slip duly signed by the advocate-on-record ofactual appearances in the Court.

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