The Supreme Court on Tuesday held an advocate guilty for contempt of court for contending that only sons and daughters of judges were awarded the designation of senior advocates.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran issued a notice to advocate Mathews J Nedumpara seeking his response within two weeks on point of the sentence.
Pronouncing the orders, the court held Nedumpara guilty for contempt of court, which carried the maximum sentence of six months with or without fine.
The court dismissed the petition filed by 'National Lawyers' Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms'.
The court had on March 5 took an exception to a contention that only sons and daughters of judges were awarded the designation of senior advocates, saying it would issue contempt notice to the lawyer for taking the name of senior advocate Fali S Nariman.
“What did you take the name of Fali S Nariman. Do you think you can get away? What did he get to do with the matter? We are warning you, anyway, we are going to issue contempt notice to you,” the bench had told Nedumpara, who represented the lawyer's group.
The bench had then orally directed the court master to record everything that the counsel argued.
Nedumpara had questioned the validity of the provision for giving the senior advocate designations, saying it was violative of the right to equality and discriminatory.
He said sons of judges were being designated as senior advocates. Nedumpara challenged the validity of Section 16(2) of the Advocates Act, 1961, which stated there should be two classes of advocates.
The counsel said the advocates who have 30 or 35 years of practice and have crossed 60 years of age should be declared as senior advocates.
“So, you think it should be given as bounty,” the bench had said.
The petitioner, an association of lawyers, contended if all those advocates who regularly practised in court for a considerable period of time cannot be designated as senior advocate, the then decision of the apex court of September 6, 2018 designating some lawyers and retired judges of various High Courts, as senior advocates be held to be violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.