The Supreme Court has ordered that no new appointments to the post of District Judges shall be made from in-service candidates against quota reserved for Bar 'now-onwards'
The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha refused to pass any further interim orders either by permitting in service candidates to stake their claims in the examination or for being appointed as against the quota reserved for bar.
It was contended that in certain cases, interim relief has been granted by Supreme Court and by virtue of the interim directions issued, certain in-service incumbents participated in the exam and other process by staking claim to be appointed in the quota which is basically meant for lawyers.
The bench is of the view that the entitlement of Civil Judges to occupy posts of Bar quota is yet to be decided by hearing matter finally and in case such interim orders are continued to be granted and the Civil Judges from the judiciary are permitted to be appointed as against the quota which basically meant for practicing lawyers, serious prejudice may be caused to the Bar incumbents.
It was also pointed out that in the past, for the last 65-66 years no person from the Civil Judge cadre were permitted to stake their claims as against the posts which are reserved for direct recruitment from the Bar.
"When direct recruitment has to be from Bar, we cannot continue to grant interim order of final nature leaving the situation virtually irreversible, an incumbent from Bar has to be deprived of the post given to in-service candidate which is reserved for Bar, question of seniority would also arise and in case relief is not finally granted several other complications would arise. In any case such ad-hoc arrangements by appointing such incumbents is not at all warranted that too in higher judiciary unless and until the case is decided in favour of in-service candidates."
The court took note of earlier Supreme Court orders which had directed the High Courts of Delhi and Allahabad to proceed with the selection process of some in-service candidates and appoint them as District Judges without them resigning from the Subordinate Judicial Service. In this regard, the bench observed:
"In the circumstances, for years together such interim orders cannot be granted nor interim orders can be treated as a precedent. As they are creating more complications and the question of entitlement of in-service candidates has been referred to Larger Bench which will take call on it. It is considered appropriate that quota meant for the Bar no more filled by in-service candidates. However, the recruitment from Bar shall be subject to the final outcome of the matter which has been referred. We are of the considered opinion that we cannot direct any more appointment by way of interim orders of Civil Judges as against posts meant for practicing advocates or allow the judiciary members to participate in such examination to make position worse.."
"Serious complications would arise in case ultimately in-service candidates are not found eligible for such quota. As such we are not inclined to pass any further interim orders either by permitting in service candidates to stake their claims in the examination or for being appointed as against the quota reserved for Bar. It would not be proper to stop all recruitments for years together, so as to prevent complications as to seniority as well as the quota which is required to be maintained".
The bench clarified that it is not disturbing the appointments which have been made so far by virtue of such interim orders. Even if in-service candidate has been selected in the examination against the Bar quota no further appointment to be made of such candidates, the bench said.
Considering the urgency of matter the bench has requested the Chief Justice to post the matter before appropriate Bench for hearing it finally as early as possible.