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High Courts, states stay tepid to idea of judicial service

NEW DELHI: The government’s fresh push for the proposed All India Judicial Service (AIJS) to centrally recruit judges on the line of civil services has received mixed response from various states and High Courts.

While 13 states are yet to respond to government’s proposal on constituting a judicial service similar to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), eight states have opposed it and five have voiced some reservations about it, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Only Haryana and Mizoram have so far backed the scheme as it is and have told the Centre that it “seems justified”.

Among the High Courts, eleven have opined against the proposed scheme while six have called for the proposal to be tweaked, said the people cited above. High courts of Sikkim and Tripura have fully supported the proposed scheme. Calcutta and Guwahati High Courts are among those that are yet to respond.

The Union government is still hopeful of creating AIJS that is meant to supply competent and efficient pool of judicial officers.

“The concerns expressed by the High Courts and state governments will be duly addressed,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity. “The government’s sole endeavour is to find meritorious candidates in judiciary who will foster the smooth flow of justice. Such a mechanism in no manner will usurp the powers of the state governments/ High Courts,” the person said.

However, the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Punjab have expressed dissent against AIJS.

The Bihar government has sought “major changes” in the proposed scheme, while Chhattisgarh said it wants only 15% vacancies of additional district and session judges to be filled through AIJS. Uttarakhand, Manipur and Orissa, too, have sought certain changes in the scheme, the sources said.

States of Tripura, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Telangana are yet to respond to the proposal.

Among High Courts, Allahabad has sought changes in “age and qualification” of the candidates for the AIJS, Chhattisgarh has demanded that 15% of total vacancies to AIJS should be from the Bar, and Himachal Pradesh has sought selection to AIJS in consonance with recommendations of the Shetty commission, or the First National Judicial Pay Commission chaired by Justice K J Shetty.

Meghalaya High Court has demanded that officers of AIJS should be given an option for elevation to High Courts of three states while Orissa High Court has demanded that promotion to higher judicial service should be included in AIJS. Uttarakhand HC has demanded “changes in age, induction level, recruitment body, qualifications (of candidates), allocation to states, quota and training”.

Eleven High Courts that have opposed constitution of AIJS are Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Manipur, Patna, and Punjab & Haryana. Allahabad and Kerala high courts have demanded control over the officers of AIJS as per Article 235 of Constitution of India.

Calcutta and Guwahati High Courts are among those yet to respond to the scheme.

The Centre had recently shot off a reminder to state governments and judiciary seeking their views on AIJS.

The proposal for an All-India Judicial Service was first suggested in the early 1960s.

Source: Economic Times

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