MPPSC Study Material
Drishti IAS
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The need for All India Judicial Services
Aug 11, 2017

[GS Paper II:(Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions)]

Why in news?

  • According to a Law and Justice Ministry document, 9 High Courts have opposed a proposal to have an all-India service for the lower judiciary, 8 have sought changes in the proposed framework and only 2 have supported the idea.
  • The document also states that most of the 24 High Courts wanted control over the subordinate judiciary.
  • The government had recently suggested to the Supreme Court a NEET-like examination, to recruit judges to the lower judiciary. At present, various high courts and state service commissions hold exams to recruit judicial officers.

All India Judicial Services (AIJS)

  • The creation of an AIJS was first proposed in 1960s to create a cadre of judges who can be appointed at the districts level courts across the country.
  • AIJS draws its support from the reports of the 1st, 8th and 11th law commissions. Even the Supreme Court had recommended setting up of an all India judicial service in two of its judgments in 1991 and 1993. 
  • After the Swaran Singh Committee’s recommendations in 1976, Article 312 was modified to include the judicial services, but it excluded anyone below the rank of district judge. 
  • Presently, the appointments of judges to lower courts are made by the governor in consultation with the State Public Service Commission and the high court.

Advantages

  • The creation of AIJS would bring accountability, transparency and consistency in the lower judiciary.
  • The merit based recruitment process, the right incentives of pay, promotion and career progression would attract bright and capable young law graduates to take over as judges in the lower courts.
  • Uniformity in the selection criteria will improve the quality of personnel in different High Courts, as 1/3rd of the judges are promoted from the subordinate courts. Similarly, a number of judges of the Supreme Court are drawn from the High Courts. 
  • The bottoms-up approach in the recruitment would also address issues like corruption and nepotism in the lower judiciary. It will improve the quality of justice dispensation in the lower levels of society. 

Concerns

  • Concerns have been raised that lack of knowledge of regional languages among the Judicial officers could affect their judicial efficiency. 
  • Avenues for promotion might be curtailed for officers who have already entered through the state judicial services.
  • Creation of AIJS would lead to an erosion of control of the High Courts over the subordinate judiciary, which might affect the judiciary’s independence.
  • Creation of AIJS may also increase the financial burden of the state.

Way forward

  • The insurmountable number of pending cases calls for establishment of a recruitment system that recruits efficient judges in large numbers for speedy dispensation of cases.
  • The three organs of government- legislative, executive and judiciary, should come together to bring judicial reforms at all levels that can go a long way in bringing good governance, economic growth and improving citizens’ quality of life.

PT Facts

  • Article 312 empowers Rajya Sabha to declare by a resolution that is supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds to create All India Services in the national interest. 
  • Presently, there are three All India Services under Article 312 of the Constitution- Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
  • Based on the recommendations of the Swaran Sigh Committee (1976) a chapter on Fundamental Duties (Part IV A) was added through 42nd Constitutional amendment.
  • In 2013 three new High Courts were constituted in the northeast — Meghalaya (Shillong), Manipur (Imphal) and Tripura (Agartala) — taking the total number of High Courts in the country from 21 to 24.


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