SC Emphasizes Stability in Empanelled Advocates to Ensure Court Efficiency

States and Union Territories retain the authority to alter their empanelled advocates, with the caveat that such changes must not unduly disrupt court proceedings, the Supreme Court has stated.

In the process of transitioning panel advocates, states are urged to uphold the previous panel for at least six weeks to prevent courts from necessitating adjournments, observed a bench comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan.

“It is acknowledged that States/Union Territories possess the power to modify their empanelled advocates. However, in exercising this right, they must ensure minimal disruption to court operations. Hence, it is advisable for States/Union Territories to maintain the existing panel for at least six weeks to mitigate the need for adjournments,” the bench articulated.

The apex court directed its Registry to disseminate a copy of this directive to the standing counsel representing all States/Union Territories.

The bench made these remarks during the hearing of a petition filed by an individual seeking bail in a case involving charges of cheating and violations under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Uttar Pradesh Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 1988.

Observing that the petitioner had already endured over a year and a half of incarceration with no prior criminal record disclosed, the court determined that the petitioner is eligible for bail until the case reaches final disposition.

“We therefore instruct that the petitioner be brought before the trial court within a week. The trial court shall grant bail to the petitioner under appropriate conditions until the case’s final resolution. It is to be understood that should the petitioner abuse the freedom granted under bail, the respondent-State retains the right to request bail cancellation,” the bench concluded.

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