Kerala HC To Hear Plea Challenging Participation Of Judicial Officers In Direct Recruitment Of District Judges [Read Petition]

Kerala HC To Hear Plea Challenging Participation Of Judicial Officers In Direct Recruitment Of District Judges [Read Petition]



The Kerala High Court, on Thursday, admitted a petition challenging the participation of judicial officers of subordinate judiciary in direct recruitment for district judges.

The matter was admitted by a bench comprising Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice Devan Ramachandran.

The petition has been filed by Kerala based lawyer, Ravikrishnan NR, who has applied for appointment to the post of District and Sessions Judge in the Kerala State Higher Judicial Service by direct recruitment from the Bar.

His plea points out that in the list of eligible candidates published for the Kerala State Higher Judicial Service (preliminary) Examination, 2017, several judicial officers have been allowed to appear for the preliminary examination provisionally, subject to the final order of the Supreme Court in SLP (C) No.14156 of 2015.

Notably, the Apex Court had, in July this year, granted interim relief to such judicial officers vying for appointment as district judges through direct recruitment.

The Bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice S.K. Kaul had directed the High Courts of Delhi and Allahabad to proceed with the selection process of the petitioners and appoint them as District Judges without them resigning from the Subordinate Judicial Service. It had, however, made it clear that their appointments would be subject to the result of the petitions pending before the Supreme Court.

The petition now asserts that this case is with respect to Delhi Rules, and that under the Kerala State Higher Judicial Service Special Rules, 1961, only practicing advocates within seven years of experience should be allowed to be appointed through direct recruitment.

“The petitioner is highly aggrieved by the permission granted to the Judicial Officers in service to apply for direct recruitment under Rule 2 (1)(c) earmarked for appointment from the Bar. Such permission granted to the Judicial Officers affect the chance of the petitioner and similarly situated persons for appointment as District and Sessions Judges by direct recruitment from the Bar,” it submits.

The petition further explains that the scheme of the 1961 Rules provides for two streams for recruitment/appointment to the post of District and Sessions Judges. One is by appointment by promotion from among Subordinate Judge/Chief Judicial Magistrate (75%) and the other is by appointment by direct recruitment from the Bar (25%).

It then demands that members of the Kerala State Judicial Service should not be allowed to participate in the direct recruitment process for the 25% of the posts.

The petition, therefore, seeks a declaration that those who aren’t practicing advocates are not qualified to be appointed as District and Sessions Judges by way of direct recruitment under the service as per the Rules.


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