Not getting enough lawyers to serve in higher judiciary, says SC, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

(Eds: Adds the word ‘entry’ after lateral in para 2) New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed disappointment over not getting enough eligible lawyers for lateral entry into higher judiciary as additional district judges across the country.

Lawyers with a minimum of seven years experience can take a competitive examination for lateral entry into Higher Judicial Services (HJS) as ADJs.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing a plea of several unsuccessful candidates of the higher judicial services (HJS) examination held recently in Rajasthan.

Refusing to entertain the plea, the bench, also comprising Justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala, asked the candidates to approach the high court instead.

The court said it is of the considered view that such a challenge can be raised under Article 226 of the Constitution in the Rajasthan High Court.

“The counsel, Prashant Bhushan, submitted that the answer sheets be evaluated by a former judge… We leave it open to the petitioners to move the Rajasthan High Court. We request the Chief Justice of the High Court to constitute a bench if such a petition is filed,” the bench said.

At the outset, the CJI said, “We are not getting candidates (lawyers) for lateral entry into the higher judicial services across the country. I can tell you this from my experience in Maharashtra and in the Allahabad High Court that we do not find candidates. We would like lawyers to join the higher judicial services.”

The CJI said chief justices of different high courts tell him they do not find enough lawyers who wanted to serve in HJS through lateral entry.

The lawyers, who had appeared in the Rajasthan HJS, wanted quashing of the final result which was declared on October 21 and re-evaluation of the answer sheets by a former judge of the Supreme Court.

The Rajasthan higher judicial services examination was held for appointment of 85 additional district judges in the state.

Over 3,000 lawyers had appeared in the preliminary examination and later, 779 successful candidates among them took up the main examination, Bhushan said.

However, only four candidates were called for interview in the final round, he said, adding this was a serious issue that needed to be examined by the apex court which can appoint a former judge to re-evaluate the answer sheets.

Bhushan said the examinations were conducted by the high court and there were some serious issues with regard to it.

“Why are you not going to the high court? The high courts set aside the decisions taken on the administrative side by them as they (judges) are governed by the oath of office,” the bench said.

It said it can always expedite the hearing in the high court.

The bench said it will ask the high court to look into the issue.

Bhushan informed the bench the high court had formed a committee which has given its report which has not been shared as of now.

Besides seeking quashing of the result and re-evaluation of answer sheets, the unsuccessful lawyers also wanted award of extra marks to all to ensure that candidates equal to three times the vacancies can be called for interview . PTI SJK SJK SK SK SK

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