Legal crusader, Shri. M. P. Vashi, has filed a Writ Petition in the Bombay High Court being W. P. No. 632 of 2011 claiming that the provisions of the Advocates Act which permit advocates to be termed as senior advocates is unconstitutional on the ground that while its purpose was to encourage advocates with special knowledge & experience to use their skills for the common man, the designated counsel are using their position to defend anti-social elements who are able to afford their exorbitant fees.
The Petition points out there was earlier a norm that senior advocates would not charge more than Rs. 1,650 per matter. That norm has now been violated rues the Petition.
The Petition cites examples of several senior advocates who are charging exorbitant fees. Leading the list are Harish Salve & Mukul Rohatgi, who are neck-to-neck with an appearance fee of Rs. 3 lakhs and a full day of Rs. 25 lakhs.Abhishek Singhvi is not too far behind with an appearance fee of Rs. 2.5 lakhs. The others in the hot-list include Satish Maneshinde, the celebrity lawyer, who is stated to have an appearance fee of Rs. 10 lakhs.
The Petition claims that the only way in which the common man can avail of the services of the celebrity senior advocates is by forcing the latter to drastically cut their fees. The Petition suggests that a ceiling of Rs. 30,000 per day per appearance should be imposed on senior advocates.
The Petition is fixed for hearing in September 2011 and will undoubtedly be followed with bated breath by all senior advocates. Junior lawyers are also very apprehensive because a ceiling on the senior™s fees will result in a drastic cut in their fees as well.