The Central Government is keen to introduce All India Judicial Services if there is consensus within the judiciary, said Mr.G R Raghavender, Joint Secretary(National Mission For Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms), Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India.
He made this statement on Sunday while speaking at an interactive online session hosted by Advocate Sumit Nagpal on the topic "Indian Legal System : What is the Govt doing to improve it?"
He said that the present Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has repeatedly said that the Government has plans to introduce All India Judicial Services(AIJS). But this has not taken place due to lack of consensus among High Courts, he said.
He said that AIJS was mooted with the objecting of "infusing new blood in the judiciary".
The 14th Law Commission Report, submitted way back in 1958, had recommended the creation of AIJS, he said. He further informed that Article 312 was inserted in the Constitution by 42nd Amendment in 1976 to provide for AIJS.
The 77tth and 116th Law Commission Reports have supported the idea.
Even the Supreme Court, in the 1992 All India Judges Case, asked the Government why it was not implementing AIJS.
"Still, this is not happening because of lack of political will", he said.
"Various High Courts have agreed. Some have agreed with changes. Few have not agreed, saying the control of HC over appointment of judges cannot be taken away", added the Law Secretary.
He opined that AIJS can solve the issue of piling up of vacancies in subordinate judiciary. At present the sanctioned strength is 24,064 against which 19,160 judges have been appointed. 4,900 vacancies are left unfilled, he shared the statistics.
Last week, it was reported that the government is in the process of finalising a bill to establish an all-India judicial service to recruit officers for subordinate courts through an entrance test.
A petition filed by All India Judges Association seeking to direct the Centre to check the feasibility of All India Judicial Service has pending in the Supreme Court since 2015.
The HCs of Sikkim and Haryana and the state governments of Haryana, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura favoured constitution of AIJS. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are reportedly opposed to it.
Five states suggested changes, with Bihar seeking major revisions and Chhattisgarh demanding that only 15% vacancies of additional district judges be filled through AIJS. Manipur, Odisha, Uttarakhand have also sought changes. Governments ofe Gujarat, UP, Assam, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand and Goa are yet to respond to the proposal.
HCs of Andhra, Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, TN, Manipur, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana and Assam are not in its favour. The Calcutta HC has not responded, while HCs of Jharkahnd and Rajasthan are still examining the plan.