Law Minister hints at national level test for judges’ recruitment in lower judiciary

Law Minister hints at national level test for judges’ recruitment in lower judiciary
Bedasree Das | Jun 13, 2018 - 4:16 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, JUNE 13: Aiming to infuse young talents to lower Judiciary, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad pitched for national level entrance exam for recruitment of judges. However, the minister pointed out that the planned national level judicial services exam should neither be on the lines of examinations like Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service. According to a national daily, “The minister said that the examination would allow the pool of talented young lawyers graduating every year from the national law universities to get into the judicial services.”

The report by The Hindustan Times reflected that 5000 posts of Judicial Officers are lying vacant across the country. In 2016, the government has appointed 126 High Court judges. Since 1989, on an average 79 to 82 judges were appointed on yearly basis. In 2017, 117 High Court judges were appointed.

Currently, appointment of judges to the subordinate judiciary is done by the respective high courts, either through exams conducted by state public service commissions or directly by high court. Last year, the Supreme court had taken up sou motu writ petition regarding introduction of a central selection mechanism for appointment of judges to the lower courts. However, few high courts and state governments were not convinced regarding the move.

Earlier, the government has proposed an All India Judicial Service (IJS). But nine high courts did not agree to the idea of IJS for lower judiciary. Eight other high courts have sought changes in the framework while two have supported the idea.

The high courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Punjab and Haryana opposed the idea of having IJS for lower judiciary. Only the high courts of Sikkim and Tripura have agreed with the proposal. The high courts of Allahabad, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa and Uttarakhand asked for changes in the proposal.

As per news reports, while the total number of available posts for judges is 20,502, the actual number of judges and judicial officers in subordinate courts is 16,050. This means that there are 4,452 vacancies for the posts of judges in subordinate courts.

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