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States opposing all India exam for judges: Moily

delhi Updated: Jul 19, 2010 01:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

The ambitious plan of the Centre to recruit 25 per cent of district judges in the country through an all-India exam on the lines of civil services has hit a roadblock with many state governments and high courts opposing the proposal.

Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Sunday conceded that there was lack of unanimity on the issue.

"The issue of All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) came up for discussions. But there was no unanimity as the various states and their high courts have their own views," Moily told reporters.

The minister said discussions on the issue would continue and the Centre was against imposing the decision on the states.

"The Department of Justice in the Law Ministry will prepare a consultation paper for larger consultations to be able to evolve a consensus on the issue," he said.

The Centre's plan to create a national-level judicial service, on the pattern of the civil services is based on a number of important recommendations. The Supreme Court had favoured the setting of the AIJS in 2008 and had also sought the views of all the high courts.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, in its successive reports, has also strongly recommended that at least one fourth of the district judges appointed in each state should be through an all India exam.

Though most government departments have all-India service recruits, selected through a national level competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year, it has not been implemented in the judiciary so far.

According to the Law Ministry, of the 21 high courts in the state, majority of them have not shown any interest in the matter, and 13 of them have expressed views against the creation of the AIJS.

The reasons cited for reluctance for an all India exam include language barriers and differences in the teaching syllabus in different universities, which could put the students of some states at a disadvantage in comparison to others.

Former Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, at a national level consultation on legal reforms in Ocotber last year, had suggested a way out by recommending that only 25 per cent seats should be filled up by a national-level exam, and the state governments can continue their existing procedure for the remaining number of seats.

Currently, the states have their own state-level judicial services, with successful candidates being recruited as judges of the subordinate judiciary.

On the issue of poor response from various states to establish Gram Nyayalayas (rural courts) which came into effect last year on Gandhi Jayanti, Moily said the Centre was willing to release extra funds.

"States have said they do not have sufficient funds. We are ready to raise the finances," he said adding that the Railways was "anxious" to work out a system under which mobile courts in rural areas can be established on trains.