The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the reason for having a “mentioning officer” at the court was to ensure that senior advocates do not get priority over junior colleagues, when it comes to mentioning of cases for urgent hearing.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant said: “We do not want to give any special priority to the senior lawyers and deprive the junior lawyers of their opportunities.”
The bench added that this system was made where all can make the mention before the mentioning registrar.
The Chief Justice made it clear that if requests are denied by the mentioning officer, lawyers could mention matters before him. He said: “You can automatically mention if it is rejected. Present a specific case, I will look into it.”
He made this remark after advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing on behalf of NGO Common Cause in connection with a PIL related to coal scam, said matters keep “languishing” for months despite being mentioned before the officers for urgent listing before benches.
Bhushan added that even after urgent memos are filed, matters are languishing. The bench said the current mentioning process ensures that no lawyer gets special priority.
Insisting that rejection was not the issue, Bhushan said the point was even if the mentioning is allowed, the case does not get listed before the bench for hearing. At this, the CJI asked Bhushan to bring a specific case to his notice for necessary action.
The CJI has discontinued the practice of allowing direct mentioning of cases for urgent listing before the benches, and has, instead, asked the lawyers to mention their cases before the designated official. Advocate M.L. Sharma, who is also a petitioner in coal scam, raised the issue of non-listing of cases despite mentioning before the designated court official.