The High Court of Allahabad on Monday refused to allow an Advocate who was above 45 years of age on the date specified in the recruitment advertisement from appearing for the Higher Judicial Service recruitment exam.
The Court was hearing a Petition filed by an Advocate who had applied for direct recruitment to the Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service. The Advertisement for filling 78 vacancies had invited applications from Advocates who had not attained the age of 45 years as on 1 January, 2013. The Petitioner, however, did not satisfy this criteria, and had then approached the Court challenging Rule 8(1) of the of the U.P. Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1975, which deals with the number of appointments to be made.
The Petitioner had submitted that before the 2012 recruitment, the last recruitment was made in 2009, anticipating vacancies for the 2010. He had contended that since vacancies existed in 2011, but no advertisement was issued then, the age requirement should be taken as on 1 January, 2012 and not 1 January, 2013. He had contended that the High Court had to conduct recruitment process every year, in view of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Malik Mazhar Sultan and Another v. U.P. Public Service Commission & Others. He had hence submitted that he cannot be considered ineligible to appear for the 2012 examination only because of the age requirement, if the High Court itself had failed to conduct the examination in 2011.
The Registrar General of the High Court, on the other hand, had argued that the non-holding of recruitment exercise in 2010-2011 was not an arbitrary decision, as the vacancies for the year 2011 were included post the clearance of the recruitment process by the Supreme Court, vide its order dated 19 October, 2011. The clearance was required in view of the State Government directive prohibiting fresh recruitments till the time appointments were made to Fast Track Courts.
On 24 November, 2011, the Supreme Court had granted time to the High Court to indicate the status of the vacancies and the steps taken to fill up the vacancies. A compliance affidavit was then filed by the High Court, pursuant to which the Supreme Court had passed a detailed order on 14 December, 2011 requiring the High Court to initiate the process for filling up the posts. The advertisement was thereafter issued in March, 2012.
The Registrar General had further invited the attention of the Court to the observations made in Malik Mazhar Sultan’s case, wherein it had been ruled that irrespective of the general directions being issued, the selections are to be conducted in accordance with the existing Judicial Service Rules of the respective States / Union Territories. It therefore contended that as long as the process complied with the 1975 Rules, it cannot be held to be violative of the Supreme Court order.
The Court accepted the contentions put forth by the Respondents, and held that the recruitment was in compliance with Rule 8 (1), which empowers the Court to fix the number of vacancies to be filled “from time to time but not later than three years from the last recruitment.”
“If no advertisement was issued in 2011, it was for the first petitioner to have approached the Court in time or to have moved an appropriate application in the matter pending before the Supreme Court. The High Court did move an application in the matter pending before the Supreme Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan and orders were passed, whereafter the advertisement was issued on 8 March 2012. The first petitioner was, therefore, clearly not eligible to appear at the examination,” the Bench comprising Justice Dilip Gupta and Justice Vinod Misra thereafter observed.
Read the Judgment here.