Yes, “fixing” in Supreme Court is for real: an insight how it happens

25th April 2019

25th April 2019

"Fixing" cases: Supreme Court under uncommon scrutiny

The recent allegation of sexual misconduct against the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman-staffer and the subsequent snowballing of it into a controversy with a Supreme Court lawyer alleging it to be a “conspiracy” shows no sign of abating. Justice Ranjan Gogoi has claimed it’s an attempt to “deactivate the office of CJI,” and hinted at a larger “plot” behind the allegations.

It’s a critical moment in India’s judiciary, the apex court, which is upheld as an arbitrating authority by Indian citizens, by and large. The common citizenry is shocked as skeletons of alleged lobbies influencing the hand of the judiciary in apex court are coming out in public domain. As a practising Supreme Court lawyer, let me try to give an insight into how it happens.

I would explain the complex functioning of the SC in a very simple language, these complex procedures and protocols are in my opinion nothing but to hide the true nature of its working.

There are three types of legal practitioners operating in the Supreme Court : 1. Senior Advocates 2. Advocate on Records 3. Individual Lawyers. Some group of lawyers together, under the common name of a Law Firm, are also operating in Supreme Court. These law firms are often headed by senior lawyers.

Senior Advocates : A lawyer who has an impeccable standing in court (though only on paper) is designated as a Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court or High Court Judges. But in reality lawyers with impeccable closeness to judges are the ones designated as Senior Advocates!

Recently due to objections raised by many lawyers on the process followed in the designation of Senior Advocates, new rules were formulated but again the rules were not made by the parliament. The 'Judges themselves made the rules for themselves'.

Advocate on Records (AOR): A special class of lawyers operating in Supreme Court without whom no case can be heard by the Supreme Court. An AOR is mandatory for getting a case filed and heard in the Supreme Court. AOR is appointed through an examination conducted by the SC.

An important and interesting fact is that the majority of the lawyers designated as Senior Advocates by the Supreme Court are Advocate on Records and majority of the biggest law firms operating in the Supreme Court are owned by these AOR's who have exclusive rights in Supreme Court.

These law firms owned by Senior Advocates/AOR's are the first step of Corporate Fixing in Supreme Court. Some of the law firms have more than 100 lawyers in their offices with top corporate houses as their clients.

There is a famous quotation in the legal profession the meaning of which has completely changed in today's times – “Know the law and the Judge”. Today forget the law but knowing the judge is the key to success in the legal profession.

Now how do these Senior Advocates/Law Firms get to know the judges?? The answer is very simple: By giving high-package jobs to children/ relatives of the judges in their law firms and offices.

The relatives/ children of the judges are the bridge between the Bar and Bench. The most important thing is that the law firms in which the relatives of the judges are employed happen to be the biggest corporate litigants of the country.

If an independent investigation is done on these law firms and details of relatives of judges employed in these law firms/senior advocate chambers come out in public domain then majority of the corporate fixing syndicate in the Supreme Court would be exposed.

(Vibhor Anand, based in Delhi, is a practising lawyer in Supreme Court and involved in social issues concerning the nation. He runs Legal Advice Services where legal experts offer help for free to anyone seeking guidance. The helpline numbers are: 9871499769/9871172769/9871130769).

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