Today's Paper

Results of examination for posts of district judge startle many

Of the 518 lawyers who took the test only one cleared it

Only one out of 518 lawyers who appeared for the written test conducted by the Karnataka High Court for direct recruitment of district judges has cleared it.

Results of the direct recruitment test has startled the legal fraternity, which is wondering whether meritorious and qualified lawyers are wary of joining judicial service or is there a decline in the quality of lawyers.

The test was conducted in September last year to fill 13 posts of district judge under the Karnataka Judicial Officers (Recruitment) Rules, and the results were announced recently. Advocates with a minimum of seven years of legal practice were eligible to apply.

Panel

A committee, comprising senior judges of the High Court, sets the question paper and evaluates the answer scripts.

A candidate, to become eligible for personality test (viva-voce), was expected to secure minimum 50 per cent marks (75 marks) in both the civil and criminal law papers, which had 150 marks each.

However, only about 12 candidates secured marks between 75 and 101 in the civil law paper and only one was able to cross 75 in the criminal paper.

A few even scored zero, and many secured only single digit marks in the criminal law paper.

“Such a poor result is the first in the recent past as far as I know,” remarked a retired High Court judge.

The former Advocate-General Uday Holla described the results as “a sad reflection on the part of the Bar.”

Corporate jobs

He, however, felt that meritorious law graduates, particularly from prominent law schools, may not be showing interest either in joining the Bar (law practice) or the Bench (judiciary). They appear more attracted by the jobs in the corporate world, he said.

A few senior lawyers, former Advocates-General, and a retired High Court judge were of the view that the results were a sad reflection of the knowledge of lawyers who appeared for the test.

“Younger lawyers are not spending time on reading after they start practice and this is resulting in decline in the standards of legal profession,” said a retired judge of the High Court, while insisting that the High Court should also make the examination process completely transparent by providing copies of answer scripts to candidates.

Additional Advocate-General K.M. Nataraj said both the Bar and the Bench had to view this development seriously.

“The Bar Council has to take some steps to ensure that good and young lawyers are motivated to join subordinate judiciary. We need to relook into the process and norms of selection too,” he said.

Lack of preparation

Meanwhile, Bangalore Advocates' Association president K.N. Putte Gowda felt that maybe there was lack of preparation among the candidates who appeared for the exam.

He further said that a good number of talented advocates were not keen on joining the judiciary due to lower promotion opportunities.

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