Central Selection Mechanism for lower judiciary will not compromise the autonomy of the States; ‘Concept note’ notified

On 09.08.2017, a ‘concept note’ on a Central Selection Mechanism (CSM) for the lower judiciary was notified on the Supreme Court website afterthe 3-judge bench of JS Khehar, CJ and AK Goel and AM Khanwilkar, JJ, on 04.08.2017, asked the Registry to prepare and send the note to the Registrars of all the High Courts. The said direction was given after the Court initiated suo motu proceedings after a letter dated 28.04.2017 was written by the Secretary of the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice (Government of India), to the Supreme Court of India.

According to the ‘Concept Note’, under CSM, the candidates will write a single common examination, namely the District Judges Recruitment Examination (DJURE), and be considered for selection in all the States for which they fulfill the eligibility criteria. Here are the key points from the Concept Note

Why a Central Selection Method?

  • Conducting DJURE would mean having a consistent and rigorous selection process
  • Fixed time-table of holding such examinations will enable an advocate who is unsuccessful in a given year, to try harder and make further attempts in a planned manner for the subsequent years.
  • More candidates will appear for the examination, of which the best eventually make the grade and qualify as central service officers.
  • CSM will provide a regular pool of meritorious candidates to recruitment and selection bodies for State Judicial Services across India.
  • District Judges Recruitment Examination (DJRE) will eradicate uncertainty and irregularity by providing fix syllabus and schedule of examination.

Effect on existing structure of Judiciary

  • DJURE would not compromise the autonomy of the States in regulating the terms of recruitment or the conditions of service. All existing rules regarding reservation, eligibility and service conditions in the States would continue to be in force.
  • DJURE will neither recruit, nor appoint candidates as District Judges. It will merely present a pool of candidates from whom judges can be recruited, after an interview with the selection authority. The actual prerogative of appointment of any judges to State Judicial Services would remain with the Governor of a State, as prescribed under the Constitution of India.
  • DJURE will not alter the existing eligibility criteria in different States. The eligibility criteria and the rules/regulations for reservation prevalent in the States will remain intact. Specific requirements of each State in terms of testing knowledge in local laws or local language will also be protected.

Structure of DJURE: DJURE will be split into 4 law papers and interview.

Authority conducting DJURE

  • 5-member Central Selection Committe consisting of one chairperson and four other members, all nominated by the CJI, and may include sitting or retired judges. The four members shall preferably represent each of the four regions of the country.
  • Secretariat for conducting the DJURE written exams, and constituting Interview Boards for conducting interviews for different state judicial services
  • Interview Boards solely responsible for conducting the interviews of candidates who have qualified on the basis of the National and State ranks

Funding: CSM will be funded by the Central Government, keeping in mind the all India nature of the examination.

Bi-annual DJURE: Concept Note suggests that the timeline of the DJURE should begin by Intimation of Vacancies by the High Court to the Secretariat on March 15 every year and should conclude with the publication of results on August 31. The 6-month timeline will allow CSC to conduct DJURE twice a year.

To read the full ‘Concept-note’, click here.

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