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:
- 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 of the Constitution of India.
- An AOR is personally liable for the due payment of all fees/charges payable to the Court.
Qualifications to be an AOR in India
An Advocate can become an AOR, if he/she fulfills the following criteria:
- The Advocate must be enrolled with any state Bar Council;
- The Advocate should not be a designated Senior Advocate;
- The Advocate shall have completed at least 4 years of legal practice on the date of commencement of his/her 1 year of training under an AOR;
- The Advocate needs to complete one year training under an AOR approved by the Court;
- After completion of training for 1 year with the AOR, the Advocate has to appear for an examination conducted by the Supreme Court of India;
- The AOR has to maintain an office in Delhi within a radius of 16 kilometer from the Court and also give an undertaking to employ a clerk, which is registered clerk of the said Advocate on record with the Supreme Court, within one month of his/her being registered as an AOR with the Supreme Court.
- Pay nominal registration fees of Rs. 250 along with the registration form;
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 a party 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 the very few IP firms in India, registered as Advocate on Record with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, which equips it to 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 briefing Counsel can assist the Advocate on Record in undertaking the drafting, collecting all case documents, certified copies and brief the AOR about the case facts. But without AOR the briefing lawyer cannot file /defend a case in the Supreme Court and plead on behalf of his client.