The Supreme Court of India through a notice today introduced the revised scheme for for engaging law clerk-cum-research assistants on short-term contractual assignment in the Apex Court.
The scheme, approved by the Chief Justice of India allows law graduates and fifth year students from any of the institutions recognized by the Bar Council of India to apply for the position of law clerk cum research assistant. This is a marked departure from the past, as previously, only students from National Law Universities were allowed to apply for the same.
Also, as large number of applications are being expected for the positions, a screening test, i.e. a national level written examination will also be conducted to screen the candidates. The examination will be conducted at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. The scheme reads, "The duration of the Written Test will be of three hours. The Question Paper for the Test will contain 150 questions with multiple-choice answers. Each question shall carry 1 mark. There shall be negative marking and 0.25 marks shall be deducted for each incorrect answer. Minimum qualifying marks for the said Written Test has been prescribed as 60% in aggregate with minimum 500/0 marks for each of the two Sections."
The two sections have been mentioned as General English and General Aptitude/Awareness and Indian Constitution, Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code,Civil Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act etc.
Section A will be of 50 marks whereas Section B will be of 100 marks. Thereafter, an interview of candidates who have cleared the screening test will be conducted, with the interview carrying 30 marks, with 15 marks being the passing criteria.
Earlier, the Rules regarding appointment of law clerks were criticized, as only students from National Law Universities were eligible to apply. Thereafter, the Delhi High Court had also pronounced the Rules as unconstitutional while hearing a petition filed by a student from Army Institute of Law, Mohali. Reportedly, the Supreme Court of India has filed a letters patent appeal in the High Court, thereby challenging the order passed by the single judge.
The LPA now may become infructuous, considering the fact that the Apex Court has notified new rules regarding the appointment of law clerks.
Interestingly, the new scheme also gives discretion regarding appointment of a law clerk to the Supreme Court judges. While a judge can have a maximum of two clerks, out of which one has to be from the merit list whereas the judge can choose the other law clerk, provided he/she fulfils the minimum qualificationrequirements/conditions.
Law clerks will also get a stipend of Rs. 30,000/- per month.
Read the Scheme here