The rules prescribe the eligibility before an advocate could act as an advocate-on-record.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw said: “It is in the interest of litigating public that the practice before the apex court is regulated by way of prescribing such qualification/eligibility conditions for advocates to become AOR (advocate-on-record) and to be entitled to act or plea.”
Advocate Balraj Singh Malik, who filed the petition, said that a large number of advocates were suffering professionally because of the rule.
Challenging the Supreme Court Rules of 1966 which allows only an AOR to file petitions before the apex court, Malik said that “other advocates are equally skilled in filing cases according to the requirements of different formats in different courts and there is no speciality in the Supreme Court practice other than high courts”.
The court said that even “parliament in the provision made in the Advocates Act has not touched upon the power of the Supreme Court to frame rules by limiting the category of person who can act or plead”.
“It cannot be treated as discriminatory or violative of Article 14 of the constitution,” the court said.