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THE HON’BLE SUPREME COURT SAYS, “JUDICIAL OFFICERS CANNOT BE DISTRICT JUDGES BY DIRECT RECRUITMENT”

Team SoOLEGAL 20 Feb 2020 3:04pm

THE HON’BLE SUPREME COURT SAYS, “JUDICIAL OFFICERS CANNOT BE DISTRICT JUDGES BY DIRECT RECRUITMENT”

Representatives of subordinate judicial institutions are not eligible for direct appointment as District Judges, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

We find that rules debarring judicial officers from staking their claim as against the posts reserved for direct recruitment from bar are not ultra vires as rules are subservient to the provisions of the constitution,” A tri-judge Bench under the leadership of Justice Arun Mishra said.

The Bench — which also included Justice Vineet Sharan and Justice S Ravindra Bhat — said that members of a state's judiciary can only be named as District Judges by way of promotion or selective competitive examination.

Under Article 232(2), an Advocate or a pleader with 7 years of practice can be appointed as district judge by way of direct recruitment in case he is not already in the judicial service of the Union or a state,” Bench said.

For the purpose of Article 233(2), an Advocate has to be continuing in practice for not less than 7 years as on the cut­off date and at the time of appointment as district judge. Members of judicial service having 7 years’ experience of practice before they have joined the service or having combined experience of 7 years as lawyer and member of judiciary are not eligible to apply for direct recruitment as a District Judge,” it quoted.

The top court upheld the rules passed by the Delhi High Court prohibiting judicial officers from staking claims against posts reserved for advocates by way of direct recruitment to the district judge's post, saying that the rules cannot be said to be ultra vires as they were in compliance with Articles 14, 16 and 233 of the Constitution.

The Bench overruled the decision of the top court in the case of Vijay Kumar Mishra, stating that it cannot be said that the judgment providing the judicial officer's eligibility to compete against the district judge's position by way of direct recruitment defines the law correctly.

The issue involved interpretation of Article 233 of the Constitution regarding the eligibility of judicial service officers for appointment as district judge as against the quota reserved for the Bar by way of direct recruitment.

Three groups of petitioners were present :

The first category was those judicial officers who argued that, in the event that an applicant has completed seven years of practice as an advocate before entering the judicial service, he / she is eligible for a claim against the Bar's direct recruitment limit, notwithstanding that he / she is in the Union or State judicial service on the date of application / appointment.

The second category was that of the people who had served just seven years of judicial service. The Hon’ble judges contend that experience as a judge should be viewed on an equal footing with the bar service, and they should be allowed to bring their argument to the fore.

The third category was mixed, consisting of candidates who, by combining the experience of working as a judicial officer and advocate, served 7 years.

All the three parties had argued that they could stake their claim against the quota listed above.

The top court however said,“We are of the opinion that for direct recruitment as district judge as against the quota fixed for the advocates/pleaders, incumbent has to be practicing advocate and must be in practice as on the cut­off date and at the time of appointment he must not be in judicial service or other services of the union or state.”



Tagged: District Judges   Supreme Court   Justice Arun Mishra   Justice Vineet Sharan   Justice S Ravindra Bhat  
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