Nine high courts oppose all-India service for lower judiciary

Nine high courts have opposed a proposal to have an all-India service for lower judiciary, eight have sought changes in the proposed framework and only two have supported the idea, a law ministry document says.

The document, sent to all members of the parliamentary consultative committee on law and justice, also states that most of the 24 high courts want control over the subordinate judiciary.

The Narendra Modi government has given a fresh push to the long-pending proposal to set up the new service to have a separate cadre for lower judiciary in the country. The idea was first mooted in the 1960s.

According to the document, the high courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna and, Punjab and Haryana “have not favoured the idea of All-India Judicial Service (AIJS)”.

It said only the high courts of Sikkim and Tripura have concurred with the proposal approved by the committee of secretaries for formation of an all-India service for lower judiciary.

The Allahabad, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa and Uttarakhand high courts have suggested changes in age at induction level, qualifications, training and quota of vacancies to filled through the proposed service.

“Most of the high courts want the administrative control over the subordinate judiciary to remain with the respective high courts,” it said.

The high courts of Jharkhand and Rajasthan have indicated that the matter regarding creation of the AIJS is pending consideration, while no response has been received from the high courts of Calcutta, Jammu and Kashmir and Gauhati, the document pointed out.

Seeking to overcome the divergence of views, the government had recently suggested to the Supreme Court various options, including a NEET-like examination, to recruit judges to the lower judiciary.

There were vacancies of 4,452 judges in subordinate courts in the country as per the figures released on December 31, 2015. While the sanctioned strength is 20,502, the actual number of judges and judicial officers in subordinate courts is 16,050.

“Adoption of the model followed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for conducting the National- Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses could also be explored,” the government had told the apex court.

The ministry had suggested various models to the apex court so that vacancies in the subordinate courts are filled up fast.

Besides the NEET model, the law ministry had also proposed that a “centralised examination” could be held by a “recruitment body” for selection of candidates and it can work under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

It also proposed that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) can also be asked to hold an exam to recruit judicial officers. The UPSC, it said, can modify its procedures and practices in consultation with the high courts to hold the specialised test.

The Secretary (Justice) has also suggested that some of the features followed by the Institute of Banking and Personnel Selection could also be followed to recruit judges to lower courts.

At present, various high courts and state service commissions hold exams to recruit judicial officers.

Would not consider any fresh representation on MoP: SC

Would not consider any fresh representation on MoP: SC
Would not consider any fresh representation on MoP: SC

The Supreme Court today made clear that it would not consider any more representation on the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) which governs the process of selecting and appointing judges in the higher judiciary.

“Thousands of people have given their suggestions and representations. For now, we are not going to look at them,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

The observations came when Ashwini Kumar Updhyay, lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson, mentioned before the bench that he has made a representation to the CJI and others on the MoP and judicial reforms which should be considered.

“It is being said that the MoP is being finalised. Kindly consider the representation,” the lawyer said.

“Not now. If the need arises, we will look into in future,” the bench said.

There had been a tussle between the Centre and higher judiciary over revising the MoP for judicial appointments.

Though various issues have been settled, one of the key unresolved points was that the Centre wanted to have the right to reject a candidate on grounds of “national security”.

Updhyay, in his representation, has given suggestions including the establishing of the Indian Judicial Service on the lines of UPSC.

( Source – PTI )

Transgenders option in UPSC only after SC clarifies

Transgenders option in UPSC only after SC clarifies
Transgenders option in UPSC only after SC clarifies

UPSC today told the Delhi High Court that it cannot include transgenders as a third gender for applying for civil services exam as the category was not yet clearly defined by the Supreme Court.

The central government’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) told a bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and P S Teji that once the apex court clarifies the issue, then it can frame rules for the benefit of transgenders, which includes providing reservation for them.
The Centre submitted that it has moved the apex court seeking clarification on various issues, including the definition of transgenders as well as who would certify them as a third gender.

The submissions were made by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and DoPT in their affidavits filed before the bench which said it would hear the matter after the apex court takes up the Centre’s application for clarification.

The PIL, which has sought quashing of UPSC’s notice for CSP examination to the extent of the gender or sex eligibility criteria it has laid down for the test, has now been listed for hearing on July 27.

The petition has contended that lack of the third gender option has resulted in transgenders not being able to apply for examination which is scheduled to be held on August 23.

During the hearing, the court told the petitioner lawyer, Jamshed Ansari, that there is no definition of transgenders in the medical dictionary, nor are there any identifying features and the apex court had not said who would be the certifying authority, which is why there is “difficulty” in implementing the Supreme Court’s judgement.

UPSC, represented by senior advocate A S Chandhiok, said that as per apex court verdict of April 15, 2014, transgenders also include bisexuals, gays and lesbians.

DoPT, represented by advocate Navin Chawla and assisted by advocate Kritika Mehra, said it has filed the application for clarification which is expected to be heard after the court vacation.

Meanwhile, Ansari argued that transgender community only comprises hijras, eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv- Shakthis etc. and “they, as a group, have a strong historical presence in our country in the Hindu mythology and other religious texts”.

The PIL has also sought addition or inclusion of transgenders as an eligibility criteria or gender option in the online application forms for the exam.

The petition has said that if the plea was allowed, “it would benefit the transgender community who are socially excluded from public employment and are suffering from social backwardness in the society”.

It has also said that the apex court had directed the Centre and state governments to “take steps to treat transgender community as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments”.

 

Why transgender not an option in civil service exam form: HC

Why transgender not an option in civil service exam form: HC
Why transgender not an option in civil service exam form: HC

High Court today asked the Centre and UPSC why transgenders have not been included as a third gender option in application forms for Civil Services Preliminary (CSP) examination.

A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and P S Teji asked the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) why transgender category has not been included as an eligibility criteria for the exam, when the Supreme Court had declared such individuals as a third gender.

UPSC to disclose civil services prelims marks

The Delhi High Court has directed Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to disclose the marks obtained by candidates in the civil services preliminary examination 2010.

 A bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw gave the ruling, dismissing UPSC’s appeal against a single judge order to disclose the marks, albeit only of successful candidates in the 2010 preliminary exam.

 The bench directed for disclosure of marks of all candidates including unsuccessful ones.

 The bench asked UPSC to make public the marks within eight weeks, saying, “An examinee is entitled to satisfy himself/ herself as to the fairness and transparency of the examination and the selection procedure and to maintain such fairness and transparency disclosure of raw marks, cut-off marks and the scaling method adopted is a must”.  “We are even otherwise of the view that there could be no secrecy or confidentiality about the method of scaling/ actualisation adopted by an examiner”.

 The very objective of the RTI Act is transparency and accountability. The counsel for the UPSC has been unable to show as to how the disclosure of the scaling/ actualisation method prejudices the examination or affects it competitiveness,” the bench also said.

 Referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling that answer scripts and answer keys are liable for disclosure after the results of the examination are declared, the court said, “Be that as it may, though the non-disclosure of the method devised for scaling/ actualisation till declaration of the result may be justified, it cannot be said to be justified after the result is declared.”

 The bench has rejected the argument places by the counsel for the UPSC that raw marks are an intermediary stage and ought not to be treated as information and only after scaling/ actualisation can the marks scored be computed and UPSC is not liable to disclose such intermediary marks.

 The order came also on a batch of petitions filed by civil service aspirants seeking direction to UPSC, which rejected their RTI application, to disclose them the details of marks (raw and scaled marks) obtained by the selected candidates in their respective optional subjects of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, 2010.

Court questions UPSC on shortage of prosecutors

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) asking why it was not appointing public prosecutors in the capital. Of the 215 posts for public prosecutors in Delhi, 44 are lying vacant. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan asked the UPSC to file a reply by July 21

The court direction came after the Delhi government submitted that it had sent a request to the UPSC June 24 to appoint public prosecutors but it failed to do so.

Last year, the high court had taken suo motu cognizance of a letter written to it by some undertrial prisoners.

They said due to the delay in the trial, some accused have to spend more time in jail than the prescribed sentence for the offences under which they were booked.

During the course of the hearing, it came to the court’s notice that trials were taking a long time to complete due to the shortge of prosecutors.

Earlier, the court directed the government to submit a report on the working conditions of the prosecutors.

The direction came after an association of public prosecutors filed an application and pointed out that due to bad working conditions, many of them had quit the job.