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Munsiff-Magistrate Selection: Kerala High Court Direction To Fill Up Additional Vacancies From Current Rank List 'Prima Facie Correct', Says Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 Nov 2020 12:24 PM GMT
Munsiff-Magistrate Selection: Kerala High Court Direction To Fill Up Additional Vacancies From Current Rank List Prima Facie Correct, Says Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally observed that the judgment of the Kerala High Court directing the filling up of additional vacancies of Munsiff-Magistrate posts from the current rank list, over and above the notified vacancies, is prima facie correct.A bench comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra orally observed that the High Court judgment was in...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally observed that the judgment of the Kerala High Court directing the filling up of additional vacancies of Munsiff-Magistrate posts from the current rank list, over and above the notified vacancies, is prima facie correct.

A bench comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra orally observed that the High Court judgment was in accordance with the Supreme Court judgments in Hirandra Kumar v High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Malik Mazhar Sultan v UP Public Service Commission and Rakhi Ray v High Court of Delhi.

The bench was considering a special leave petition filed by the High Court of Kerala challenging the judgment passed by a division bench of the Kerala HC which upheld a single bench judgment directing the filling up of additional vacancies from the merit list published on February 20, 2020.

Senior Advocate V Giri, appearing for the High Court, submitted in the SC that the judgment was contrary to Rule 7(2) of the Kerala Judicial Service Rules, 1991 as per which only the probable vacancies that may arise within one year from the date of approval of the rank list can be filled from it.

Mr. Giri submitted that the vacancies notified were those existing as on 01.01.2019 and those anticipated to arise by 31.12.2019 and 10% of such vacancies. He also pointed out that there is a fresh notification issued on 30.06.2020, which takes in the vacancies arising after 31.12.2019 and till 31.12.2020.

If the High Court judgment to cover the additional vacancies from the existing rank list is implemented, there will no vacancies left for the fresh notification issued in June this year.

Vacancies up to 2021 will have to be filled up from the existing rank list and the selection process as per the fresh notification will be a "farce", submitted Mr.Giri.

Senior Advocate V Chitambaresh, appearing for one of the candidates, submitted that the selection process will take one year to complete, which will be followed by training for another year. Therefore, vacancies will remain unfilled for two years. The High Court took note of the fact that there are 41 additional vacancies in existence, over and above the 37 vacancies notified for the current merit list, submitted Chitambaresh.

Justice Chandrachud, the presiding judge, observed that the High Court judgment "is not prima facie incorrect" and said that it was in accordance with the Supreme Court precedents.

"Does the HC really want to press this(SLP)? Have a talk with the Chief Justice", Justice Chandrachud told Mr.Giri.

On this, Mr.Giri replied that he will have a discussion with the administrative side of the High Court to see if the issue can be resolved without the interference of the Supreme Court.

He emphasized that the High Court was not taking an "adversarial position" to the issue.

Accordingly, the matter was adjourned for two weeks.

It was on July 9 this year that a single bench of Justice P V Asha of the High Court ordered the filling up of additional vacancies from the current merit list by allowing the writ petitions filed by two candidates Swetha Sasikumar and Reshma A.

A division bench comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and T R Ravi upheld the single bench judgment on August 26, dismissing the writ appeals filed by the High Court of Kerala.

"We direct the appellant to prepare a select list from the approved merit list including those vacancies which arise as on today and those anticipated till 06.05.2021 or any other date on which the appellant expects the next list to be published", directed the division bench.



 


 

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