Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Judicial service is very different from other services and the yardstick of suitability that may apply to other services, may not be the same for judicial service.”

Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Kurian Joseph, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Navin Sinha, JJ., while allowing an appeal filed by a successful judicial services candidate stated that, “the consideration and candidature in the present case of the appellant are afflicted by a myopic vision, blurred by the spectacle of moral turpitude, reflecting inadequate appreciation and application of facts.”

The factual matrix of the case presents a picture in which it is stated that the appellant being a successful aspirant for judicial service was aggrieved from cancellation of his selection for appointment due to the character verification report.

The contention of the appellant by his learned counsel was that he had honestly and truthfully disclosed his prosecution and acquittal. It has been stated that appellant was being subjected to arbitrary and hostile discrimination by placing reliance of Joginder Singh v. State (UT of Chandigarh), 2015 (2) SCC 377. Counsel for the respondents stated that acquittal because prosecutrix turned hostile cannot come to the aid of the appellant and fact that he had disclosed the same earlier does not exempts his conduct involving moral turpitude.

Therefore, the Supreme Court on the observance and analysis of the facts and circumstances of the case stated that “Employment opportunities are a scarce commodity in our country.” In furtherance to the stated analysis, the Court added that “every individual deserves an opportunity to improve.” Also, the Apex Court concluded by stating that no reasonable person on the basis of materials placed before us can come to the conclusion that the antecedents and character of the appellant are such that he is unfit to be appointed as a judicial officer.

Hence, the respondents were directed to reconsider the candidature of the appellant and an appropriate decision shall be taken in light of the present discussion. The appeal was allowed. [Mohammed Imran v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1943, decided on 12-10-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench of J. Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, JJ directed the States to implement the recommendations of the Commission headed by Justice P. Venkatarama Reddy, former Supreme Court Judge and pay interim relief to the extent of 30% of increase in basic pay with accrued increments to all categories/ranks of Judicial Officers.

The other recommendations of the Commission are as follows:

  • The said increased in Pay shall be treated as a separate component and no D.A. is payable thereon.
  • Arrears shall be worked out with effect from 01.01.2016 on the above basis.
  • On the same basis, the interim relief shall be provided to the pensioners and family pensioners with effect from 01.01.2016 and the arrears to be paid accordingly.
  • Wherever the benefit of interim relief has already been granted, the Judicial Officers in those States/UTs can exercise their option to continue to be governed by such Orders.
  • The amounts payable by way of interim relief now proposed are liable to the adjusted against the future determination pursuant to the final report submitted by the Commission.

The Court directed that the interim relief regarding the pay of the Judicial Officers as recommended by the Commission be implemented by all the concerned States and Union Territories w.e.f. 1st of May, 2018 and the arrears payable pursuant to the abovementioned recommendations shall be paid on or before 30th June, 2018.

The Court took note of the fact the Committee faced certain difficulties in the process of executing the task entrusted to them, the Court directed that:

  • The Chairman and Members of the Commission should receive emoluments/pay and allowances from 01.06.2017 as they had commenced work in the first week of June, 2017.
  • The Secretary should receive emoluments w.e.f. 01.09.2017, as he had commenced work on 16.08.2017.

[All India Judges Association v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 312, order dated 27.03.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Deciding the validity of determination of seniority of promotee and direct recruit Higher Judicial Service (HJS) officers in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the bench of AK Goel and RF Nariman, JJ held that the promotees could not be given promotion without suitability test nor could they claim seniority without the same.

The question for determination before the Court was whether the promotees recruited in the year 2008/2009 are entitled to seniority prior to their selection on the ground that no suitability test was required prior to 9th January, 2007 and retrospective effect to such requirement was illegal. Upholding the decision of the High Court, the Court held that the suitability test was required in terms of judgment of this Court in All India Judges Association v.  Union of India, (2002) 4 SCC 247 and under the amended Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1975 applicable retrospectively which was duly upheld by this Court in V.K. Srivastava v. Govt. of U.P., (2008) 9 SCC 77.

With regard to the Quota-Rota rule, the Court said:

“there is no doubt that this is a mandatory requirement of the Rules. The said requirement has however to be seen in the peculiar fact situation. The issue of determination of vacancies was embroiled in continuous litigation. The Quota-Rota rule could not be applied in the absence of determination of vacancies. The suitability test though validly laid down could not be held till 2008 for reasons already noted. No promotion could be given in absence of suitability test. The rule provided for seniority of the promotes to be fixed from the date of availability of vacancy but such seniority could also not be given in the present fact situation. If rota rule is applied, it will work serious prejudice to the promotees. Thus, the Rules will have to be given pragmatic interpretation.”

Background of the Amendment:

The Rules as originally framed envisaged three sources of recruitment – direct recruitment from the bar, promotion from members of Uttar Pradesh Nyayik Sewa (UPNS) and officers out of cadre of judicial magistrates. There was also a provision for quota for the different sources. However, the said Rules were amended as per the All India Judges Association verdict. The U.P. Higher Judicial Service (Sixth Amendment) Rules, 2006 were notified on January 09, 2007and by the said amendment, the criteria for recruitment by promotion was changed. Requirement of passing a suitability test was incorporated. There was also modification about the percentage of quota. The suitability test in pursuance of the said amended rules was held for the first time in the year 2008. [High Court of Judicature at Allahabad v. State of Uttar Pradesh, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3356 OF 2018, decided on 28.03.2018]

High Courts

Madras High Court: While deciding the present issue that whether the petitioner who has been declared to be partially blind with the percentage of disability at 70% was eligible to be appointed as a Civil Judge (Junior Division), the Division Bench of V. Ramasubramanian and T. Mathivanan, JJ., dismissed the petition with regard to the nature of duties of a Judge. The Court further stated that the Government, in consultation with the Court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those, whose disability ranges from 40-50%.

The Tamil Nadu government by way of G.O.Ms.No.53 dated 11.04.2005 had identified the post of Civil Judge wherein reservation under the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 can be made. In subsequent Notifications (2012 and 2014), in accordance with the Proviso to Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, the benefit of reservation for the physically challenged could be availed by those blind and deaf candidates, whose percentage of disability is 40-50%. The petitioner had applied for the said post and secured the requisite qualifying marks in the examination and the viva-voce, but his name was not forwarded by the Service Commission due to some confusion regarding the entitlement of the petitioner. S.V. Narayan appearing for the petitioner put forth that the right conferred by the 1995 Act is absolute and the Executive cannot make any exception violating the spirit of the Act.

The Court took up an in-depth analysis of the law and the circulars in question. It was observed that in 2010 an appointment of a completely blind candidate led to certain complications after which the administration in consultation with this Court proposed an amendment to the Recruitment Rules and bringing in the impugned Notification No.49858/Cts-I/2014-4 dated 08.08.2014. The Court further observed that the petitioner only challenged the Government Letter dated 08.08.2014, but did not challenge Paragraph 4.F of the impugned Notification, therefore the petitioner cannot achieve the desired outcome. It was further observed that Sections 32 and 33 of the 1995 Act itself gives the benefit of reservation to persons who suffer upto 40% of disability. Thus the impugned Notification does not amend the fundamental feature of reservation under the Sections and does not nullify the legislation in any manner. V. Surendra Mohan v. State of Tamilnadu, 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 2100, decided on 05.06.2015