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Consensus on judicial service

delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2009 00:33 IST
Satya Prakash
Satya Prakash
Hindustan Times
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An all India service for recruitment to lower judiciary may finally take shape, bringing in much-needed uniformity in the selection and service conditions of judges in the lower courts.

The Law Commission, parliamentary panel and chief justices of India have been pushing for such a service for a long time.

At a recent conference of chief ministers and chief justices, states and high courts “in principle” agreed to a proposal for an All India Judicial Service.

This is for the first time that the judiciary and executive have reached a broad consensus on the issue.

However, the 16-page resolution adopted at the August 16 conference said, “Before giving effect to the formation of the
All India Judicial Service, a comprehensive deliberation should be held.”

During the conference, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and representatives of other BJP-ruled states had raised the issue of the language to be used by AIJS officers.

In the past, chief justices of India have written to the government to create AIJS and improve the judge-population ratio to tackle delays and backlog.

The Constitution provides for such a service which can be created and regulated by a law enacted by Parliament.

The Law Commission has thrice in its reports called for such a service and the Supreme Court had agreed with it in the All-India Judges case in 1992.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, too, had been pushing for such a service to attract the best possible talent. Former law minister Shanti Bhushan welcomed the consensus reached between the states and judiciary.

“After creation of AIJS, judges can be transferred anywhere in the country. It will enrich their experience and make them better judges.” At present, judges of subordinate judiciary work in one state only. Jurist Rajiv Dhavan, however, said the Constitution-makers deliberately put the subordinate judiciary under the control of high courts.

“There is no reason to disturb the federal structure of the judiciary. It may amount to the violation of the basic structure of the Constitution.”

But Bhushan said, “That should not be a problem. In the IAS, when you work in a particular state you are under the state government. Similar should be the case in AIJS.