Govt finalising draft bill to set up all-India judicial service


PTI, May 26, 2020, 5:02 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is in the process of finalising a bill to establish an all-India judicial service to recruit officers for subordinate courts through an entrance test. Those who clear the pan-India test would be appointed by high courts and the state governments.

Before the draft is taken to the Union Cabinet, the broad features of the proposed all-India service will be shared with the higher judiciary to seek its views, sources in the government said. The provision of an all-India judicial service (AIJS) on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service was mooted soon after Independence.

The provision of AIJS was included in Article 312 of the Constitution through the 42nd amendment in 1976. But it would still require a bill to decide on its broad contours. At present, various high courts and state service commissions hold exams to recruit judicial officers.

With most of the 25 high courts wanting to retain administrative control over the lower judiciary, the proposed law may allow them to appoint judges of subordinate courts. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) could hold a standardised entrance test to recruit judges for lower courts.

Since cases in lower courts are argued in local languages, there have been apprehensions on as to how a person from north India can hold hearings in a southern state. But the government is of the view that even IAS and IPS officers have served in different states overcoming the language barrier.

“Intensive language training can certainly help overcome the difficulty,” said a senior law ministry functionary. The government believes that if such a service comes up, it would help create a pool of talented people who could later become a part of the higher judiciary – the 25 high courts and the Supreme Court.

The government has in the past proposed an all-India judicial service test to be conducted the UPSC. But nine high courts had opposed the proposal to have an all-India service for the lower judiciary. Eight others had sought changes in the proposed framework and only two supported the idea.

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 the lower judiciary in the country.

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