'Service' In Article 233 (2) Of Constitution Means 'Judicial Service'; Madras HC Rejects Law Teacher's Plea To Appear In District Judge Exam [Read Judgment]

The Madras High Court has rejected a petition filed by a law teacher seeking directions to amend the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service ( Cadre and Recruitment) Rule 2017 to permit him to appear in the examination for selection of District Judges.

According to him, he had seven years of practice as an advocate before joining teaching profession, and therefore he met the qualification under Article 233(2) of the Constitution of India.

Article 233 (2) says that "A person not already in the service of the Union or of the State shall only be eligible to be appointed a district judge if he has been for not less than seven years an advocate or a pleader and is recommended by the High Court for appointment".

However, the Division Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad rejected the argument by referring to the SC precedent in Chandra Mohan v State of UP AIR 1966 SC 1987 which had interpreted "service" in Article 233(2) to mean "judicial service".

In that case, the SC had set aside the provisions of UP Higher Judicial Service Rules, which had permitted government officers with seven years of practice to join the cadre of District Judge.

The petitioner placed reliance on the decision in Vijay Kumar Mishra v High Court of Judicature at Patna, which had held that serving judicial officers need not resign from service to appear for district judge examination. There the Court held that the bar under Article 233(2) was applicable only for appointment of person and not for appearing in examination. It was added that applicants need to resign from service only in they get selected in the examination.

Based on this, the petitioner sought for permission to appear in the exam.

This contention was rejected by observing that the "service" under Article 233(2) was interpreted to mean "judicial service".

"The words "the service" in Article 233(2) of the Constitution of India, means only judicial service. Contention of the petitioner teaching law in college is ancillary to judicial service, cannot be accepted", observed the bench dismissing the petition.

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