Pro bono activity can be criterion for judges's elevation

Team SoOLEGAL 16 Oct 2017 5:20pm

Pro bono activity can be criterion for judges's elevation

Pro bono is kind of service that uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.

Free legal assistance extended by a lawyer to the poor and those who otherwise cannot afford legal representation should be an important criterion while considering him for elevation as a judge, government feels.

A senior government functionary said the guidelines laid down recently by the supreme court outlining the importance of pro bono has "strengthened" the feeling in the government that "pro bono lawyering" be made a pre-requisite parameter to becoming a judge.

Like getting the gown of a Senior advocate, pro bono activity can easily be a criterion for becoming a judge for those coming to the bench from active bar service, the functionary said.

On whether the government feels that pro bono service be made a criterion for becoming a judge of the SC or a HC, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad merely said, "Our government is keenly promoting pro bono lawyering. Exposure to pro bono lends its own weight."

Another senior official of the Law Ministry who's familiar with the issue pointed out: "How can you select someone as a judge if he is not worthy of being a senior advocate?"

On October 12, the apex Court fixed guidelines on how to designate a senior advocate and mentioned pro bono work as one of the criteria.

The Supreme Court has now set up a committee that will also look at various other criteria apart from pro bono work.

Integrity, conduct, reputation and the number of reported judgments in which the advocate has appeared would all be factored in by the committee before recommending someone as a senior advocate. [ As reported in Indian Express]

Tagged: Lawyer   Judge   Law Minister   Ravi Shankar Prasad   Advocate  
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