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Constitutional Validity Of UP Higher Judicial Service Rules(8 and 12)Upheld by Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 7 Feb 2019 3:00pm

Constitutional Validity Of UP Higher Judicial Service Rules(8 and 12)Upheld by Supreme Court

Constitutional validity of Rule 12 of The Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1975 was to be determined by the Supreme Court.

The Rule 12 of the said set of Rules provides cut-off dates for fulfilling the age criterion (35-45). The criterion is set as the first day of January next following the year in which the notice inviting applications is published.

The bench comprising of Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta was of the view that prescription of an age limit is on the discretion of the State appointing authority to prescribe an age criterion for recruitment to the Higher Judicial Services.
A writ petition was filed by Hirandra Kumar challenging Rule 8 and Rule 12 which read as under

Rule 8: Number of appointments to be made– (1) The Court, shall, from time to time, but not later than three years from the last recruitment, fix the number of officers to be taken at the recruitment keeping in view the vacancies then existing and likely to occur in the next two years
Rule 12:Age – A candidate for direct recruitment must have attained the age of 35 years and must not have attained the age of 45 years on the first day of January next following the year in which the notice inviting applications is published; Provided that the upper age limit shall be higher by three years in case of candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and such other categories as may be notified by the Government from time to time.

The petitioner contended that age limit of 45 years (48 for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe candidates) with regard to the first day of January of the year following the year in which the notice inviting applications is published, is violative of the Indian Constitution under Article 14.

As a result of of implementation of Rules 8 and 12, the age limit prescribed between the date of the last recruitment and the present recruitment process would be debarred from appearing in the competitive examination.

 

Rejecting the contentions of the petitioner, the Apex Court said:

"The legal principles which govern the determination of a cut-off date are well settled. A certain degree of arbitrariness may appear on the face of any cut-off or age limit which is prescribed, since a candidate on the wrong side of the line may stand excluded as a consequence. That, however, is no reason to hold that the cut-off which is prescribed, is arbitrary. In order to declare that a cut-off is arbitrary and ultra vires, it must be of such a nature as to lead to the conclusion that it has been fixed without any rational basis whatsoever or is manifestly unreasonable so as to lead to a conclusion of a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution."

The bench further concluded that the power of fixing a cut-off date or age limit is solely the decision of the authority which exercises complete control over the selection process.

While dismissing the writ petitions, the bench further observed:

"For the purpose of determining whether a member of the Bar has fulfilled the requirement of seven years' practice, the cut-off date is the last date for the submission of the applications. For the fulfillment of the age criterion, the cut-off date which is prescribed is the first day of January following the year in which a notice inviting applications is being published. Both the above cut-off dates are with reference to distinct requirements. The seven year practice requirement is referable to the provisions of Article 233(2) of the Constitution. The prescription of an age limit of 45 years, or as the case may be, of 48 years for reserved category candidates, is in pursuance of the discretion vested in the appointing authority to prescribe an age criterion for recruitment to the HJS."

Lastly, the Court also said that the validity of the Rule cannot be determined on the basis of hardships which an individual faces.

Tagged: Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud   Justice Hemant Gupta   Supreme Court   onstitutional validity of Rule 12   Uttar Pradesh   Higher Judicial   Service Rules  
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