NEWDELHI: Nine high courts have objected to a plan for a central exam for recruitment to lower judiciary, a proposal that has the backing of the Supreme Court.
The government has proposed an exam on the lines of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, better known as NEET, held for medical course to select judicial officers to address concerns over the quality of junior judges and lack of uniformity in recruitment.
The high courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna and Punjab and Haryana are not in favour of the idea, the law ministry recently told a parliamentary panel.
The courts’ stand is contrary to the views of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar who said the new system would ensure quick appointment of competent judges necessary for an effective judiciary. The exam would bring uniformity in the selection process and curb nepotism and favouritism in judiciary, the top court said on August 4.
Nearly 5,000 posts are vacant in the subordinate judiciary, nearly a fourth of the total 21,320 positions. Around 27 million are pending in district courts, as per National Judicial Grid Data, hobbling India’s justice delivery system. Around 10% of these cases, or around 2.4 million, are more than 10 years old.
The Centre has no say in the recruitment of judicial officers that are made by the state services commissions and the 24 high courts.
Even after the exam is introduced, there will be little change in the arrangement, the government says. A merit list of successful candidates would be drawn up and states would be allowed to appoint judges as per their rules, the Centre has said, a point also backed by the top court.
“There will be no interference in the appointment process and state would be allowed to follow their own procedure as per their rules and reservation policy,” the court said on Friday in response to reservations expressed by West Bengal government and Calcutta high court.
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