Twenty-three law graduates, many serving as judicial officers in various states, have moved the Supreme Court challenging the entire scheme of the Delhi Judicial Service Examination. The Supreme Court has admitted the petition and asked Delhi High Court to file its reply.
The petitioners are DJS aspirants represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Nachiketa Joshi.
The petition, while questioning the manner in which the exam is conducted and the selection procedure, seeks quashing of the result of DJS exam of 2015, in which only 63 of the 915 candidates were declared successful for the interview for 100 vacancies.
"The Petitioners are challenging the entire selection process and evaluation method adopted in the Main (Written) Examination of Delhi Judicial Service, 2015 (DJS) on the grounds of being unreasonable, arbitrary and hence, in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
"Rule 13 of the Delhi Judicial Services Rules, 1970 and the order passed by the Delhi High Court mandates that the competitive examination shall be held preferably twice a year and looking into the fact that there is substantial backlog of vacancy in the Delhi State, the lethargic manner in which the DJSE is held after almost every 3 years clearly shows the zero intention of the respondent in making any conscious effort to reduce the pendency of cases in trial courts in the State of Delhi," it said.
It cites the "astonishing results" of DJSE-2014 wherein, of 9,000-odd students, who gave the preliminary examinations, eventually only 15 students were selected for the DJS after the viva-voice round.
The petition raises voice against the unexplained delays in completing the entire process from advertising the DJSE to the final selection.
The preliminary examination for DJSE 2015 was conducted on December 20, 2015, wherein 8,534 students appeared.The results for the preliminary examinations were declared in February 2016.
Of the 8,534 candidates, 914 were selected for the Mains.
"The results for the Main examinations of DJSE 2015 were finally declared in July 2017 after a period of almost 1 year of unexplained delay and wherein, 63 candidates have been shown to be selected for the oral interviews for the total 100 vacant posts of judicial officers in Delhi. Thus only 6.88% candidates out of the total 915 candidates, who gave the Main examinations, have been found eligible for screening by viva voce," the petition states.
It submits that normally three times the number of seats notified are called for interview test. Apparently, in 2010, 120 candidates were called for interview for 27 seats of DJS and in 2011, 75 candidates were selected for 23 seats.
The petition says 31 candidates, who appeared for the exam but were not selected for the interview, are those who have already cleared judicial examinations of other states like Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and most of them are sitting judges in their respective states.
It also goes on to add how RTI revealed that no model answer key was prepared for the 2015 DJS Mains.
The petition also seeks quashing of DJS 2015 Mains result, re-evaluation of all the papers of the Mains of the petitioners by an independent expert committee preferably headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
It also prays for the constitution of an independent judicial service commission for the selection of lower judicial officers.