Pat HC | Bihar Superior Judicial Service Rules: Annual recruitment of Judges is discretionary to some extent

Patna High Court: The Bench of Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Anjana Mishra, JJ. dismissed a petition challenging the age requirements for District Judge examination.

Petitioner on account of having become overage for recruitment as District Judge (Entry Level) Direct from Bar Examination, 2019 prayed for a direction to modify the advertisement reckoning the maximum age of 50 years as on 01-01-2017 instead of 01-01-2019. Petitioner who was aged 52 years submitted that the maximum age prescribed, which is 50 years, should be reckoned on 01-01-2017 on the premise that the respondents have not held the examinations of District Judge (Entry Level) direct from Bar timely.

The Court noted that Rule 5(c) of the Bihar Superior Judicial Service Rules, 1951 provides that the recruitment shall be made, as far as possible, on a yearly basis. It was opined that the words used by the rule-making authority does not create a compulsion but mandates annual recruitment in the services ‘as far as possible’.

The phrase “as far as possible” means that the principles are to be observed unless it is not possible to follow them in the particular circumstances of a case. Reliance in this regard was placed on Osmania University v. V.S. Muthurangam, (1997) 10 SCC 741 where it was held that the said phrase inheres in-built flexibility. While the said phrase does not give a licence to conduct examinations lethargically or delay it for no valid reason but at the same time, the rigour of a mandate is made discretionary to a certain extent. Therefore, if the recruitment had been initiated after two years due to some intervening circumstances, there was no violation of the Service Rules.

In view of the above, the writ petition was rejected for being bereft of merits.[Ram Yad Yadav v. Registrar General, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 276, Order dated 05-03-2019]

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