Lack of consensus forces Union government to abandon all-India judicial services – The Leaflet

EARLIER Today, the Union Government informed Parliament that it has shelved the proposal to set up All India Judicial Services (“AIJS”), which was aimed at the enthronement of new suitably qualified legal talent selected through an appropriate merit selection system all over India. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said there was a lack of consensus on AIJS between different high courts and state governments.

The minister was responding to a question posed by MP Jose K. Mani.

“A comprehensive proposal has been formulated for the constitution of an AIJS and the same was approved by the Committee of Secretaries in November 2012. In addition to attracting some of the best talent in the country, it can also facilitate the inclusion of people experts from marginalized sections and women. in the judiciary. The proposal was placed on the agenda of the Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief High Court Justices held in April 2013 and it was decided that the matter required further deliberation and consideration. », said the minister.

He added that the views of state governments and high courts were being sought on the proposal. There was a difference of opinion among the state governments and among the high courts on the constitution of AIJS. While some state governments and high courts were in favor of the proposal, others were not in favor of the creation of an AIJS while others wanted changes in the proposal made by the Union government .

When the Minister of Justice answered a similar question in Parliament in December last year, it was revealed that only two states, namely Harayana and Mizoram, were supportive of AIJS while eight states, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Punjab opposed it. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Orissa and Uttarakhand requested changes to the proposal. Altogether 13 states namely Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Goa, Sikkim and the Tripura did not respond to the proposal.

Rijiju said the proposal to establish a Judicial Service Commission to assist in recruitment for district judges and review of the selection process for judges/judicial officers at all levels is on the agenda. of the day of the Conference of Chief Justices, which was held on April 3 and 4, 2015. It was then decided to leave room for the respective High Courts to develop appropriate methods within the existing system to provide expeditiously vacancies for the appointment of district judges.

“The proposal for the constitution of the All India Judicial Service with the views of the High Courts and State Governments received thereon has been included in the agenda of the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices High Courts held on April 05, 2015. However, no progress has been made on the subject,” added the minister.

“The proposal for the establishment of an Indian judicial service was again discussed on points of eligibility, age, selection criteria, qualification, reservations, etc. in a meeting chaired by the Minister of Law and Justice on 16th January 2017 in the presence of State Minister of Law and Justice, Attorney General of India, Solicitor General of India, Secretaries of Ministry of Justice, Legal Affairs and Legislative Department The creation of the AIJS was also discussed at a meeting of the parliamentary advisory committee in March 2017 and of the parliamentary committee on the welfare of SC/ST on 22.02.2021. consensus, at present, there is no proposal to bring the judiciary closer to all of India,” the minister informed the Rajya Sabha.

In 2017, a Supreme Court bench headed by then Indian Chief Justice JS Khehar had pushed a centralized selection process to fill judicial vacancies.

“The current exercise is only aimed at centralizing the selection process, so as to make recruitment a regular recurring feature, which would result in filling vacancies at the earliest, through a time-limited mechanism. Since it is proposed to centralize the selection process, it would, if implemented, allow a candidate to apply for more than one state, through a single selection process,” the bench had declared in initiating a suo motu procedure to promote the centralized selection process.

However, some high courts and state governments had opposed it in the Supreme Court. Their main concerns were the dilution of the federal structure and the fact that the proposal did not address structural problems plaguing the lower judiciary, including low salaries and diminished chances of promotion to the upper judiciary.

At present, the selection of district and subordinate judiciary is made by the state governments in consultation with the respective high courts having jurisdiction in that state.

Mark M. Gagnon