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Supreme Court Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Quashing of Prerequisite Of 3 Years' Practise As Advocate For Being Eligible For Civil Judge Exam

Radhika Roy
30 Dec 2020 7:05 AM GMT
Supreme Court Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Quashing of Prerequisite Of 3 Years Practise As Advocate For Being Eligible For Civil Judge Exam
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice in a petition which seeks to quash the pre-requisite condition of three years of practice as an Advocate to be eligible for the Civil Judge Exam in Andhra Pradesh.A Vacation Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose heard the matter and stated that there was no urgency as such in the matter for it to be heard during...

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice in a petition which seeks to quash the pre-requisite condition of three years of practice as an Advocate to be eligible for the Civil Judge Exam in Andhra Pradesh.

A Vacation Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose heard the matter and stated that there was no urgency as such in the matter for it to be heard during the vacations.

Accordingly, notice has been issued to the Respondent. The matter will now be heard on January 5th, 2021.

In today's hearing, Senior Advocate NK Mody, assisted by Advocate Chirag Sharma, appeared for the Petitioner.

Mody submitted to the Bench that in 2004, the Supreme Court had rendered a judgement wherein the condition that one should be an advocate and needs to practise for a certain number of years was disallowed. Therefore, it was no longer mandatory for a candidate applying for judicial services to be an advocate.

To the question pertaining why the plea was moved before the Supreme Court, Mody submitted that the deadline of receiving applications was 2nd January, which necessitated moving the Top Court during the vacations. Additionally, Sharma informed the Bench that as per a judgement of the Apex Court, only the Supreme Court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter, not the High Court.

In light of the above, the Court proceeded to issue notice in the matter and listed the same for January 5th.

The plea, by Regalagadda Venkatesh, an aspirant to the Civil Judge post in the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Services, prays for quashing of Rule 5 (2)(a)(i) of the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules, 2007 notified on 28.07.2017 vide G.O.Ms. no. 29 and Clause III (a) of Notification no. 9 / 2020 – RC dated 03.12.2020 as being in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

"Short facts of the case are that back in the year 2008, the then Combined State of Andhra Pradesh (pre-bifurcation) had notified the 'Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules, 2007' vide G.O.Ms. no. 119, Law Department on 02.08.2008, according to which, Rule 5 (2)(a)(i) read as follows:

'2. Civil Judge:

(a) By Direct Recruitment: A person to be appointed to the category of Civil Judges shall be:

(i) A Holder of a Degree in Law awarded by any University established by Law in India.'", the petition, through Advocates Chirag Sharma and Balaji Yelamanjula and AOR MP Shorawala, avers.

It is narrated that subsequently in the year 2014, the Combined State of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into the present State of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. However, both the newly formed States remained to be supervised by a common High Court i.e. High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at Hyderabad. Thereafter on 28.07.2017, the AP state notified certain Amendments to the Rules of 2007. Rule 5(2)(a)(i) of the Rules of 2007 was amended into as the Impugned Rule:

"2. Civil Judge:

(a) By Direct Recruitment: A person to be appointed to the category of Civil Judges shall be:

(i) One who has been practicing for not less than 3 years as an Advocate as on the date of publication of the advertisement in the newspapers;"

Thus, in such regard, it is submitted that pursuant to the amendment made in the year 2017 by the state of AP to Rule 5(2)(a)(i), it was imperative for a person to have practiced as an Advocate for three years as on the date of publication of advertisement in order to be eligible for direct recruitment as a Civil Judge in Respondent no. 1 State as opposed to being a mere Degree Holder in law awarded by any University established by Law in India as under the pre- amendment Rule. It is mentioned that a similar amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) was also notified by the State of Telangana.

"Pursuant to the amendments notified by both the States, batches of Writ Petitions were filed before the common High Court thereby challenging the amendment made to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) by the States as being in contravention to Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. That while the above Writ Petitions were pending, the common High Court was bifurcated in January 2019 into High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad and Respondent no. 2. It is here pertinent to mention that subsequent to the High Court bifurcation, a batch of Writ Petitions were referred to the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad thereby challenging the amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i), which were subsequently allowed thereby declaring the amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) by the State of Telangana as unconstitutional and to be against the holding of this Hon'ble Court in "All India Judges Association and Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors." [2002 (4) SCC 247]", it is stated.

Thus, in light of the said judgment, it is submitted that the Apex Court has opined against the imperative law practice as an Advocate for three years to be an eligibility to compete and enter judicial services. Further, the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad has also declared the amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) thereby imposing a pre-requisite practice of 3 years as an Advocate as an eligibility to apply for the post of Civil Judges as unconstitutional.

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