All India Judicial Service no panacea, says study

Vidhi report points out several issues in pitching AIJS as a solution to judicial vacancies

Most of the reasons for creation of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) for appointing lower court judges “no longer exist or have been resolved through changes in rules, regulations and practices”, a report by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy said.

Currently, the appointments of District Judges and Subordinate Judiciary are done by the respective State governments. But in recent years, there have been an invigorated push for creation of a unified pan-India judicial service for appointing them.

AIJS has been pitched as a solution to judicial vacancies, lack of representation for the marginalised and the failure to attract the best talent.

Vidhi in its report titled, ‘A primer on the All India Judicial Service - A solution in search of a problem?’ demonstrated that many of these issues have been “incorrectly diagnosed”.

The idea for AIJS was first proposed by the 14th Report of the Law Commission of India in 1958, aimed at creating a centralised cadre of District Judges that would draw better talent.

One of the recent justifications for creation of AIJS has been that a centralised service would help fill the approximately 5,000 vacancies across the District and Subordinate Judiciary in India.

The report,however, said it is only certain High Courts which account for a majority of the approximately 5,000 vacancies.

“In our opinion, rather than proposing an AIJS as a solution for judicial vacancies, it may be more prudent to investigate the reasons and causes for the large number of vacancies in the poorly performing States,” the report authored by Prashant Reddy T., Ameen Jauhar and Reshma Sekhar said.

The report also highlighted that many of the communities who currently benefit from the State quotas, may oppose the creation of AIJS. This is because the communities recognised as Other Backward Classes (OBC) by State governments may or may not be classified as OBCs by the Central government.

While AIJS has been pitched as a solution to lack of representation for the marginalised on the Bench, the report said many States are already reserving posts for marginalised communities and women.

Another argument made against creation of AIJS is that judges recruited through this process will not know the local languages of the States in which they are posted. This becomes important considering that the proceedings of civil and criminal courts are to be conducted in a language prescribed by the respective State governments.

“The issues of local language and customs are issues that deserve serious consideration before moving ahead with the creation of the AIJS,” the report said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:02:34 PM |

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