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The Supreme Court has asked officers of the Haryana Judicial Service to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court to challenge their promotion criteria framed by the high court.

As the apex court bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya Wednesday asked the judicial officers to move the state high court, senior counsel R. Venkataramani, appearing for the petitioners, said. It was for the first time that the service conditions of judicial officers were amended by a resolution of the high court, he added.

The petitioners alleged that the administrative instructions issued by the high court changing the criteria of their evaluation could allegedly pave the way for the junior judicial officers superseding seniors for promotion to the cadre of district judge.

The petition was jointly moved by the chief judicial magistrates of Faridabad, Panchkula, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Hisar, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Rewari, Narnaul and Jagadhri, and the civil judges (senior division) Jhajjar, Panipat, Kaithal, Fatehabad and Kurukshetra. Additional civil judge (senior division) Rohtak too was one of the petitioners.

These judicial officers moved the apex court seeking the quashing of high court instructions relating to 50 percent quota for promotion of junior judicial officers to the cadre of district judge.

The petition sought the instructions be quashed on the ground that the high court had no powers to issue such instructions.

It was a settled law that administrative instructions could be issued to supplement the rules already in force and not to contradict them, the petition said.

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