Advocate on Record (AOR) in the Supreme Court of India According to Article 145(1) of the Constitution of India, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has the power to make rules for regulating generally the practice and procedure of the Court, which includes persons practicing in this Court. As per Chapter IV of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, only an Advocate on Record (AOR) shall for a party appear, plead and address the Court in a matter. Although, on instructions from an AOR and with the permission of Court, an Advocate other than AOR can also address the Court in a matter. Interestingly, not every advocate practicing in the Supreme Court is an AOR. There are certain set of conditions that are required to be fulfilled.
Role and duty of AOR The roles of an Advocate on Record (AOR) in India are: Advocate On Record (AOR) Only an AOR can file a Vakalatnama in the Supreme Court on behalf of the client. Vakalatnama is a document in writing, appointing a lawyer or pleader to represent the clients matter in a Court of law.
Advocate on Record (AOR) in the Supreme Court of India
According to Article 145(1) of the Constitution of India, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has the power to make rules for regulating generally the practice and procedure of the Court, which includes persons practicing in this Court. As per Chapter IV of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, only an Advocate on Record (AOR) shall for a party appear, plead and address the Court in a matter. Although, on instructions from an AOR and with the permission of Court, an Advocate other than AOR can also address the Court in a matter. Interestingly, not every advocate practicing in the Supreme Court is an AOR. There are certain set of conditions that are required to be fulfilled.
Role and duty of AOR
The roles of an Advocate on Record (AOR) in India are:Qualifications to be an AOR in India An Advocate can become an AOR, if he/she fulfills the following criteria:
Advocate On Record (AOR)Only an AOR can file a Vakalatnama in the Supreme Court on behalf of the client. Vakalatnama is a document in writing, appointing a lawyer or pleader to represent the clients matter in a Court of law.No advocate other than an AOR can appear and plead in any matter unless an AOR instructs him.Any notice or order/correspondence by the Supreme Court is sent to the AOR.It is necessary to get a certificate issued by an AOR, in order to file a Special leave Petition under Article 136 ofthe Constitution of India.An AOR is personally liable for the due payment of all fees/charges
Is it mandatory to engage an AOR for Filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in Supreme Court of India?
An Advocate on Record (AOR) in Supreme Court of India is an advocate who has cleared the exam held by the Supreme Court of India and has registered as an Advocate on Record with the Honorable Supreme Court of India. An Advocate on Record is entitled under the Order IV of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 to act as well as to plead for aparty in the Supreme Court of India. As per the Rules, no advocate other than an advocate on record shall be entitled to file an appearance or act for a party in the Supreme Court of India. No advocate other than an Advocate on Record(AOR) can appear and plead in any matter unless an advocate on record instructs him.
Difference between an Advocate and AOR
An Advocate is a legally trained professional to practice law before all Court/tribunals in India. However, an AOR is trained for one year only under an AOR for practicing before the Supreme Court of India.
Can a Law Firm be registered as an AOR in India?
Yes, a law firm having all partners as AOR can be registered as an Advocate on Record. S.S. Rana & Co. is one of thevery few IP firms in India, registered as Advocate on Record with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, which equips itto represent clients from the lower courts right up to the Apex Court.
Can Advocates other than AOR work on a case for their client?
Yes, a client can have his briefing Counsel for a case, who has handled the matter at lower courts. The briefingCounsel can assist the Advocate on Record in undertaking the drafting, collecting all case documents, certifiedcopies and brief the AOR about the case facts. But without AOR the briefing lawyer cannot file /defend a case in theSupreme Court and plead on behalf of his client.
If an advocate wants to practice as an advocate-on-record in the Supreme Court he or she needs the following qualification
The advocate must have a practice for five years as an advocate.
And thereafter has to intimate to the Supreme Court that, he or she has started taking training with a Senior Advocate on the record because he or she intends to become an Advocate-on-record.
After the expiry of one year’s training, the advocate has to appear for an examination conducted by the Supreme Court itself.
After an advocate passes this examination, he or she must have a registered office within a radius of 10 miles from the Supreme Court building and a registered clerk. It is after this that the Chamber Judge of the Supreme Court accepts him as an advocate-on-record.
Advocate-on-record exam syllabus
There are four set of paper of four different subjects namely,
Practice and procedure of Supreme Court – This includes Learning important provisions of the constitution of India relating to jurisdiction of the court.
Supreme Court Rules and provisions of Civil Procedure Code, Limitation Act and the General Principles of court fees Act.
Drafting – This includes,
Petitions for Special Leave and Statements of Cases, etc.
Decrees, Orders, and Writs, etc.
Syllabus includes petitions of appeal, plaint and written statement in a suit under Article 131 of the Constitution of India; review petitions under Article 137 of the Constitution of India; transfer petitions u/s 25 of the Civil Procedure Code; Article 139 of the Constitution of India and Section 406 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973; contempt petitions under Article 129 of the Constitution of India, interlocutory applications including criminal miscellaneous petitions for bail, condonation of delay, exemption from surrender, applications for revocation of special leave, etc.
Advocate and Professional ethics – This includes,
The Advocates Act and Cases reported under the Advocates Act, particularly disciplinary proceedings.
Cases relating to the Contempt of Court involving Advocates.
The Bar Council of India Rules.
The Supreme Court Rules, 2013.
This includes all the cases as notified by the exam department. The list of the cases as according to exam of 2017 can be found here
In its official site, the Supreme court has also provided the study materials which could be found here
Result of the exam
For result relating information, Regulation 11(i) & 11(ii) are reproduced:-
“A candidate, who fails to obtain 50 per cent in one paper only but obtains 40 per cent in that paper and also obtains 60 per cent in the aggregate in the remaining papers, shall be allowed to appear in that paper at anyone subsequent examination on payment of the full examination fee and he shall be declared to have passed the Advocates-on-Record Examination if he obtains 50 per cent marks in the paper in which he has so reappeared and the marks so obtained in the paper he has reappeared taken with the marks obtained in the remaining papers at the earlier examination are 60 percent of the aggregate marks in all the papers.
Regulation 11 (ii)
“A candidate who passes in all the papers at any single examination but fails to obtain 60 percent of the marks in the aggregate may, on payment of the full examination fee, appear at anyone subsequent examination in one of the papers only and shall be declared to have passed the Advocates-on-Record Examination if the marks obtained by him at the subsequent examination taken with the marks obtained in the remaining papers at the earlier examination are 60 percent of the aggregate marks in all the papers. The option will have to be exercised by the candidate at the time of filing of a proforma application for appearing in the subsequent examination and the option once exercised shall be binding on the candidate.
The Candidates are informed that in ensuring examination those who are given roll number and who absent themselves in examination without assigning sufficient reasons in writing to the secretary will be treated as not sufficiently prepared and will be dealing with under regulation 5(b) without giving further opportunity, and time may be prescribed within which they shall not present themselves again for examination except with prior permission of the chairman of board of Examiners.
Bar on reappearing for the AOR exam – Regulation 5 (b)
5(b) “If the committee on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners is of the opinion that a candidate has not sufficiently prepared himself for the examination they may prescribe a time within which he shall not present himself again for examination.
The candidates are further informed that as per registration 11 (iii) of the Regulations regarding Advocates-On-Record, a candidate, who fails in all the papers of the examinations, shall not be permitted to appear in the next examination.
The candidates are further informed that as per Regulations 11 (iv) of the Regulations regarding Advocates-On-Record Examination, a candidate shall not be allowed more than five chances to appear at the examination. Appearance even in any one of the papers in an examination shall be deemed to be a chance.
Professional ethics an AOR must know
It is not an individual service rather, it’s a public service, and hence trust is attached to the work and the advocate should not involve in any work which hampers the trust.
Should follow the principle of integrity and morality in his/her work.
Should do nothing which will detract the dignity of the court.
Should never indulge in any misconduct.
Should maintain secrecy and trust between himself and his client.
Should commit his/her work towards the welfare of the society, and not towards focussing on only earning money. Fees charged should be according to rules.
Should never abuse his/her powers to fool clients.
Should strictly follow the court rules and orders and should respect the court.
Should work for the activity of social welfare rather than just using skills for litigation and adjudication.
Should not use any unfair means against the opposite parties.
Difficulty level of the AOR exam
It’s true that every year the questions paper gets difficult and lengthy, and according to a source, the passing criteria has also increased. There are various views on the AOR exam, and on many interviews, it is found that some find it difficult while others find it lengthy though, it’s their own perspective.
As a constitutional right, the AOR Exam conducted by the supreme court evolves out as a standard of eligibility for appearing, pleading and acting before the supreme court. It ensures that a lawyer appearing before it has the right knowledge, skill, and authority and is fit to take the case from people and fight for them in the best possible manner.