Delhi Judicial Services Exam, 2014: SC admits Petition, refuses to stay selection

Delhi Judicial Services Exam, 2014: SC admits Petition, refuses to stay selection

A Supreme Court of India Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P.C. Pant has admitted a Writ Petition against the 2014 Delhi Judicial Service Examination, filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, through Advocate Prashant Bhushan.

The Court however refused to grant a stay on the selection process because the District Judge interviews are due to happen in two days from today. The Court however made the final results of the selection process subject to the outcome of the Writ.

The Petitioners have challenged the entire selection process and evaluation method adopted in Main (Written) Examination of Delhi Judicial Service, 2014 (DJS) on the grounds of being unreasonable, arbitrary and hence, in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

It notes that the Delhi High Court, on May 28, 2015, in an RTI reply has admitted that no “set criteria” and no “model answers” were provided to the examiners for the exam. “When there are no uniform criteria for checking, there is possibility that the selection is done on the basis of non-standardized and non-uniform understanding of each and every examiner,” the Petition says.

On 18.02.2014, after a gap of three years, an advertisement was issued for recruitment to 80 vacancies of Delhi Judicial Service (DJS). Out of 80 vacancies, 55 were for the General Category candidates. The exam was to be held in three parts, the preliminary examination, the main examination and the interview.

A total 9033 students took the preliminary examination held on 01.07.2014 for total 80 vacancies, of which 55 were for the General Category candidates. 659 students out of 9033, who were declared successful in preliminary examination, took the main examination held on 10th and 11th October, 2014.

The result of this Main Examination was declared on 1st May 2015, almost 7 months after the exam was held. Surprisingly, only 15 students (13 from General Category and 2 from reserved category) have been selected for the interview for total 80 vacancies in the result declared on 1st May 2015. Thus, 98% of the students who had cleared preliminary examination have not been found suitable for the final interview test.

This was despite the fact that at least 65 candidates, who appeared for the Main Exam but not selected for the interview, are those who have already cleared judicial examinations of other States like Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and most of them are sitting judges in their respective states.

The Petition hence submits that “the results of the Main Exam of DJS, 2014 show that there is a serious problem with the evaluation method of the exam, which is being conducted for selecting the judicial officers in Delhi, and unless this evaluation method or selection process for DJS is re-examined to make it more rational and reasonable, without compromising on merits, one of the most important factors responsible for huge pendency or delay in justice i.e. lack of sufficient number of judicial officers will not be tackled.”

They have hence sought quashing of the results and re-evaluation of the all papers of the Main Examination by an independent committee of the experts preferably headed by some retired Judge of the High Court.

It further contends that there is a need of adopting uniform selection procedures for appointing judicial officers through an independent Judicial Service Commission. “In a selection system where the High Court itself conducts the examinations for selection of the judicial officers, the possibility of conflict of interest or even allegation of bias cannot be ruled out,” it reasons.

Earlier in June, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda had written to the  Delhi High Court Chief Justice G. Rohini to look into the “corruption, favoritism and nepotism” in the Delhi Judicial Services Examination that was held in New Delhi last year. Read the LiveLaw story here.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan had also written to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice G. Rohini, bringing to her notice, the apparent irrationality in the result of the Main Exam of the Delhi Judicial Service, (DJS) 2014. Read the LiveLaw story here.