The central government is preparing to give new impetus to the establishment of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) on the model of central public services. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju convened a meeting of state law ministers last week of this month to discuss infrastructure and AIJS issues in the lower justice system. The idea of centralized hiring of judges has been debated in legal circles for decades and remains controversial.
How are district judges currently recruited?
Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges and place it in the domain of the states. The selection process is carried out by the State Civil Service Commissions and the corresponding Superior Court, since the Superior Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate state judicial power. Panels of Superior Court judges interview candidates after the examination and select them for appointment. All lower magistrates up to the level of district judge are selected through the provincial civil service (judicial) examination. The PCS (J) is commonly known as a Judicial Services Examination.
Why was AIJS offered?
The idea of a centralized judicial service was mentioned for the first time in the 1958 Law Commission’s “Report on Judicial Administration Reforms”. The idea was to ensure an efficient subordinate justice system, solve structural problems such as wage and salary variation between states, fill vacancies more quickly, and provide standard training across states. A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC was discussed to conduct a standardized and centralized examination to recruit and train judges. The idea was proposed again in the 1978 Law Commission report, which examined backlogs and backlogs in lower court cases. In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Complaints, Law and Justice, in its 15th report, supported the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service and also prepared a bill.
What is the point of view of justice on AIJS?
In 1992, the All India Supreme Court Justices Association. (1) v. Union of India directed the Center to establish an AIJS. However, when the sentence was revised in 1993, the court left the Center free to take the initiative in the matter. In 2017, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of appointing suo motu district judges and proposed a “central selection mechanism”. Lead attorney Arvind Datar, who was appointed amicus curiae by the court, distributed a concept note to all states where he recommended conducting a common examination rather than separate state examination. Based on the list of merits, the Hautes Courts would conduct interviews and appoint judges. Datar argued that this would not change the constitutional framework or eliminate the powers of the states or the higher courts.
What is the opposition to AIJS?
A centralized hiring process is seen as an affront to federalism and a usurpation of the state powers granted by the Constitution. This is the main argument of several states, which have also argued that centralized contracting could not address the unique concerns that individual states may have. Language and representation, for example, are key concerns highlighted by states. Court cases are conducted in regional languages, which could be affected by centralized recruitment.
Furthermore, reservations based on caste, and even for rural applicants or state language minorities, could be diluted in a core test, it was argued. The opposition is also based on the constitutional concept of separation of powers. A central test could give the executive a foothold in appointing district judges and dilute the power of the Superior Courts in the process.
In addition, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS would not solve structural problems affecting lower courts. The issue of different salaries and salary scales was addressed by the Supreme Court in the Judges Association of India case in 1993 by bringing about uniformity between states. Experts argue that raising salaries across the board and ensuring that a fraction of High Court judges are elected from lower courts may help attract quality talent better than a central review.
Why is the government trying to revive the idea of AIJS?
The government has focused on reforming the lower judiciary in its efforts to improve India’s ease of doing business rating, as effective dispute resolution is one of the key cues in determining the rating. Officials said AIJS is a step in the direction of an efficient inferior justice system. The government has countered state opposition, saying that while a central mechanism can work for administrative services (IAS officers learn the language required for their case), it can also work for court services.
What is the Judicial Services Examination?
The Judicial Services Examination or the Provincial Civil Service Examination (PCS) (J), commonly referred to as, are entry-level examinations for law graduates to become members of the subordinate judiciary. State governments, under the supervision of the respective superior courts, appoint members of the lower judiciary on the basis of a competitive process.
Judicial Services Examination: Eligibility Criteria
- Lower Judicial Services: Eligibility criteria to sit for the Forensic Services Examination is an LL.B degree and he / she has registered or qualified to register as a lawyer under the Law on Defenders of 1961. No experience is required and senior candidates may also appear. The age limit varies by state, generally between 21 and 35 years old.
- Higher Judicial Services: candidates must hold a law degree and justify a minimum number of years of litigation practice; usually seven years.
Judicial Services Examination Pattern
The Judicial Service Examination takes place in three successive stages, namely, Preliminary Examination, Network and Viva-Voce / Interview.
- Preliminary Exam: The preliminary exam serves as an assessment for the main exam. Understand the objective questions. The marks obtained in the preliminary examination do not count for the final selection. Qualifying percentages vary by state. The minimum score on the preliminary examination is 60 percent for general categories and 55 percent for reserved categories.
- Main Examination: The main examination is subjective. The exam consists of three to four tests. The marks obtained by the candidates are taken into account for the final selection. Candidates equal to three times the number of vacant positions are invited to viva-voce.
- Viva-Voce / Personal Interview: This is the final selection stage where applicants are assessed on general interest, personality and intelligence, among other factors.
The program varies from state to state. It is broadly divided into civil law, criminal law and language. The weight assigned to the language test is between 20 and 35 percent. The main exam consists of six to seven papers and nearly 70% of the questions are law.
States conducting Judicial Services Examination
|Himachal Pradesh||Haryana||Jammu and Kashmir||Jharkhand||Karnataka||Kerala|
Judicial Services Examination: how to prepare?
Applicants must prepare an action plan and implement it diligently. In addition to knowing the subject, you also have to be aware of the news. “Candidates must first understand the program and then begin their preparation. They must create an appropriate study plan. Reading newspapers and magazines is essential.
Judicial Services Examination: Scope
The position of judge is the most respected position in the Indian legal system. Candidates nominated through the Judicial Services Examination enjoy a safe and comfortable tenure. A career in Judicial services has two levels. The first is the lower judicial service for new graduates selected by an entrance examination conducted by the State Civil Service Commission (UP, MP, Rajasthan, etc.) or the higher courts (Delhi). The entry through this guarantees promotions for a limited time and a secure stay. The second level is that of Higher Judicial services for practicing lawyers. Successful candidates are posted as additional district judges, which and their promotion is faster.
Candidates appointed to civil judge (minor division) have judicial magistrate powers (second class) and those promoted to chief judicial magistrate have judicial magistrate powers (first class). Candidates for additional district and session judges are assigned to the Superior Court and, in exceptional cases, to the Supreme Court.
Judicial service is an attractive option for those seeking to serve the public with high social esteem. Offers a safe and secure career with a convenient compensation package.
Although 9-12 months is the ideal time to prepare for the exam, a candidate should start preparing for it from their second year of an integrated LLB in five years and from the first year of an LL .B in three years . The current trend is for applicants to begin preparing for forensic services exams only after completing their LL.B. If you start your preparation early in self-study mode, no coaching will be required. Applicants should be in the habit of reading newspapers and legal magazines that cover sample questions, interviews with selected applicants.
Candidates are not directly appointed to the higher courts and the Supreme Court through judicial services examination. However, candidates appointed through the judicial services examination are eligible for promotion to higher courts. The judges of the Superior Court and the Supreme Court are appointed through the collegiate system. Lower judicial appointments are made separately for each state and territory of the Union, but deliberations are focused on establishing a unified appointment mechanism, reviewing the judiciary in India, in line with the Indian administrative examination.