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CJI’s poser for ‘₹50L a day’ sr advocates ‘Should They Argue Early Hearing Applications?’

September 15, 2018 06:13 AM

COURTESY THE TIMES OF INDIA SEPT 15

CJI’s poser for ‘₹50L a day’ sr advocates
‘Should They Argue Early Hearing Applications?’
Dhananjay.Mahapatra@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

Should successful senior advocates, who earn up to Rs 50 lakh a day in legal fees and sometimes even more, appear in the Supreme Court to argue applications seeking early hearing of pending petitions, Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked on Thursday.


Soon after becoming CJI on August 28 last year, Justice Misra had made it an unwritten rule to debar senior advocates from mentioning fresh petitions for urgent listing to provide junior advocates the space to finetune their skills as well as earn.

On Friday, when former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi appeared before a CJI-led bench to request early hearing, Justice Misra asked whether a rule should be made that only advocates not designated as senior be permitted to argue early hearing applications?

Finding attorney general K KVenugopal sitting in the front row reserved for advocates waiting for their cases to be called, the CJI sought his opinion. Venugopal suppressed his laughter and said there was a long tradition in Madras high court that during court vacations, no senior advocate would argue cases before the vacation benches.

Venugopal, as AG or as a senior advocate, has ever argued a case before a vacation bench in the recent past, preferring to travel to exotic locales during court vacations and leaving the field open for his juniors.

Rohatgi wriggled out of the embarrassing situation by saying he was arguing the application as the issue was complicated and it required detailed explanation. Finding the CJI not buying his argument, the ex-AG quickly fell back on his characteristic wit and said he fully agreed with Venugopal that court vacations should be completely off limits for senior advocates. “I love travelling during the vacations. I agree with the AG that junior advocates must get the chance to argue before the vacation court and even for mentioning to seek urgent listing of fresh petitions and pleading for early hearing of pending petitions,” Rohatgi said. A smiling CJI said, “Thus, I close the debate

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