The Madras High Court on Monday directed the court Registrar-General to file a counter to a petition, which sought to quash shortlisted candidates for viva voce for 17 posts of District Judge (entry level) based on the written examination held on October 3.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and N. Paul Vasanthakumar, gave the direction on a petition, which also prayed for issuing a consequent direction to the authorities concerned to shortlist legally valid candidates by giving weightage to experience at the Bar and proper representation for women.

In the petition, V. Yamuna Devi of Vyasarpadi alleged that the process of selection smacked of arbitrariness. Clause IV of the notification dated June 24 this year, inviting applications for the post, had stated that the selection would be based on the results of the written examination and viva voce.

She contended that to shortlist candidates, the length of experience at the Bar and the marks obtained in the written examination would be considered, and such candidates alone called for interview. As per rules, 30 per cent of vacancies, which were to be filled by direct recruitment, should be set apart for women.