The Orissa High Court has observed that serving judicial officers cannot participate in the selection process of the direct recruitment meant for lawyers in the cadre of District Judge.
Some candidates, who had seven years of practice at the Bar, were debarred from participating the selection process of the direct recruitment in the cadre of District Judge on the ground that they were serving as judicial officers and not practicing as advocate on the date of submission of their application.
Taking note of the relevant recruitment rules, the bench comprising of Chief Justice K.S. Jhaveri and Justice K.R. Mohapatra observed that once a person has entered into Judicial Service he has to remain in that cadre and he cannot claim the benefit meant for other category of candidates for direct recruitment.
"Once a candidate is a direct recruit, he has to remain as a lawyer and compete with the lawyers through direct recruitment quota. But a judicial officer having all the experience and money, he has not struggled at the Bar as a lawyer for seven years whereas the other man has struggled at the Bar for several years," the court said.
The court further observed that allowing any judicial officer to appear in the examination as a lawyer would deprive genuine practitioners who have practiced for seven years and more and have been waiting for the turn in the direct recruit and it will really hurt the said class.
"Once a person has entered into Judicial Service he has to remain in that cadre and he cannot claim the benefit meant for other category of candidates for direct recruitment. However, it is needless to mention here that when a candidate entered into the service, it is the condition precedent that if he wants to appear the examination he has to follow the Service Rules meant for Judicial Officers. The recruitment should be done in accordance with the Service Rules and not otherwise," the court added.