Advocate-on-Record system in the Supreme Court


09:42 AM

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Advocate-on-Record (AOR)?
  • How does one become an AoR?
  • What are the rules governing the AoR system?

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Supreme Court pulled up an Advocate-on-Record (AoR) for filing a frivolous case and dismissed the public interest litigation.
  • The Court censured the lawyer that an AoR cannot merely be a signing authority.

Advocate-on-Record (AOR)

  • About
    • An AOR is a lawyer in the Indian legal system who is registered and authorized by the Supreme Court of India to represent clients in that court.
  • Functions
    • AORs have the exclusive right to file and argue cases in the Supreme Court on behalf of their clients.
      • Only an AoR can file cases before the Supreme Court.
      • An AoR might engage other lawyers including senior counsels to argue before the Court but the AoR is essentially the link between the litigant and the highest court of the country.
    • AORs can appear before other courts too.
    • Basically, AORs can file a petition, draft an affidavit, file a Vakaltnama, or any other application at the Supreme Court on behalf of the party.
  • Idea behind AOR
    • The idea behind this practice is that a lawyer with special qualifications, picked by the Supreme Court itself, is equipped to appear for a litigant.
      • This is because it is a court of the last opportunity for the litigant.
    • Advocate On Record is a designation because one must have some distinct skills when pleading in the Apex court.
    • To uphold the standard of quality of litigation Advocate On Record system should be implemented effectively.

How does one become an AoR?

  • The Supreme Court Rules, 2013 prescribe eligibility criteria for an AoR.
  • To become an AOR, an advocate must:
    • Clear the exam held by the Supreme Court of India;
    • Have at least four years of practice before starting the training;
    • Train with a court approved AoR for at least one year;
    • Score at least 60% in a three-hour exam;
      • The subjects include Practice and Procedure, Drafting, Professional Ethics and Leading Cases.
    • Have a registered office within a radius of 16-kilometre from the Supreme Court building;
    • He/she is required to give an undertaking to employ, within one month of being registered as an AoR, a registered clerk.

What are the rules governing the AoR system?

  • Constitutional provision
    • Under Article 145 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is empowered to make rules and regulate its own procedure for hearing cases.
  • Legal provision
    • According to Section 30 of the Advocates Act, any lawyer enrolled with the Bar Council is entitled to practice law before any Court or tribunal in the country.
      • This provision nowhere restricts the advocate to practice in the Supreme Court.
      • The only restriction is that his name should be in state roll.
    • Section 52 of the Advocates Act, 1961
      • This section gives power to the Supreme Court to frame the rules for practising in the court subject to Article 145 of the constitution.
      • Article 145 (1) (a) says that the SC can make rules to regulate how the Court works and who can practice law there, as long as it doesn't go against any laws made by Parliament.
  • Constitutional validity of Rules
    • These rules were challenged in the Balraj Singh Malik v Supreme Court of India.
    • The court held that Section 30 was to be read with Rule 52 of the Supreme Court Rules, which preserves the rule-making power of the SC under Article 145 of the Constitution.
    • The SC was therefore empowered to decide the manner as well as the right to practise of various classes of advocates before it.

Q1) What is advocate act 1961?

The Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted by the Parliament of India to amend and consolidate the laws relating to legal practitioners. The Act was passed in May 1961 and enforced on August 16, 1961.

Q2) What is Supreme Court of India?

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial authority and the final court of appeal for all civil and criminal cases in India. It is also known as the apex court of India.

Source: What is the Advocate-on-Record system in the Supreme Court? | ipleaders