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All India Judicial Service

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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(Sansad TV: Perspective)


Dec 24: All India Judicial Service – https://youtu.be/fcEnpj7hvqI 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: Judiciary
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

All India Judicial Service

Context: All India Judicial Service is a proposal to centralise the recruitment of judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states. In the same way that the Union Public Service Commission conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, the All India Judicial Service seeks to establish a national-level recruitment process for lower judiciary. 

  • To improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.
  • AIJS is considered by the government as a step in the direction of ensuring an efficient lower judiciary.
  • The government has countered the opposition by states, saying that if a central mechanism can work for administrative services — IAS officers learn the language required for their cadre — it can work for judicial services too.

Status of the Proposal

Amid reports of the Centre renewing attempts to build consensus with state governments and High Courts on setting of the All India Judicial Service, the government informed Parliament during its just concluded Winter Session that only 2 states – Haryana and Mizoram, and two high courts, Tripura High Court and Sikkim High Court, are in favour of creating the AIJS. 

  • Eight states- Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Punjab have opposed the idea
  • Five states have sought changes in the government’s proposal
  • 13 states did not respond. 

What is the opposition to the AIJS?

  • A centralised recruitment process is seen as an affront to federalism and an encroachment on the powers of states granted by the Constitution. This is the main contention of several states, which have also argued that central recruitment would not be able to address the unique concerns that individual states may have.
  • Language and representation are key concerns highlighted by states. Judicial business is conducted in regional languages, which could be affected by central recruitment.
  • Reservations based on caste, and even for rural candidates or linguistic minorities in the state, might get diluted in a central test.
  • The opposition is also based on the constitutional concept of the separation of powers. A central test could give the executive a foot in the door for the appointment of district judges, and dilute the say that High Courts have in the process.
  • Additionally, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS will not address the structural issues plaguing the lower judiciary.
  • The issue of different scales of pay and remuneration has been addressed by the Supreme Court in the 1993 All India Judges Association case by bringing in uniformity across states.
  • Experts argue that increasing pay across the board and ensuring that a fraction of High Court judges are picked from the lower judiciary, may help better than a central exam to attract quality talent.

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 conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court, since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state. Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for appointment.
  • All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam. PCS(J) is commonly referred to as the judicial services exam.

Timelines of proposal for All India Judicial Service

  • The idea of a centralised judicial service was first mooted in the Law Commission’s 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
  • The idea was to ensure an efficient subordinate judiciary, to address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states, to fill vacancies faster, and to ensure standard training across states.
  • A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standard, centralised exam to recruit and train judges was discussed.
  • The idea was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
  • In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 15th Report backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.
  • In 1992, the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Assn. (1) v. Union of India directed the Centre to set up an AIJS. In a 1993 review of the judgment, however, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism”.
  • Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who was appointed amicus curiae by the court, recommended conducting a common examination instead of separate state exams. Based on the merit list, High Courts would then hold interviews and appoint judges.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. Will All India Judicial Service strengthen the overall justice delivery system? Examine.

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