A division bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and A. S. Bopanna has issued notice on a special leave petition, seeking reckoning of seniority of 'Ad-hoc' judges in Gujarat from the initial date of their appointment.
The judicial officers in Gujarat had earlier filed a writ before the Gujarat High Court for regularization and seniority of judges but the list of candidates for consideration prepared therein excluded the names of Judges who were appointed on an ad hoc basis. An interim application for inclusion of ad-hoc judges was moved but, it came to be rejected. The SLP thus impugns this interim order.
The Petitioners, Rahul Vishan Agarwal and others are regular judges in various courts in Gujarat who were initially appointed as ad-hoc judges. They were appointed as such in 2012 and 2013 on qualifying the common competitive exam held for appointment of both regular as well as ad-hoc judges. Later, their appointments were regularized on various dates.
They have contested that reckoning of their seniority from the date of their appointment as regular judges as opposed to regular judges, whose seniority is reckoned from the initial date of appointment.
Clause 7(7) of the Advertisement for Recruitment of Civil Judges which provides that upon eventual regular appointment, the period spent by candidates as ad-hoc judges shall not be counted towards seniority was also challenged.
The Petitioners, through Advocate on record, Pulkit Tare and Senior Counsel, P. S. Narasimha, contested discrimination faced by them as against regular judges in every aspect of seniority, pay fixation, etc. on the following grounds:
The petitioners sought a direction to the respondent State and High Court of Gujarat to consider their case for promotion subject to final outcome of the main petition. The bench issued notice in the matter, returnable in three weeks.