NEW DELHI: With an aim to speed up judicial appointments and make them more transparent, the Centre and the Supreme Court are planning to set up an All India Judicial Services (AIJS), which, however, was opposed by most high courts.
After word received by the Ministry of Law and Justice, several HCs said they opposed an AIJS as they do not want to surrender their administrative control over the subordinate judiciary.
However, last week, chief justice J S Khehar said while hearing the plea to fill up judicial vacancies, “It would be beneficial for the country if a centralised mechanism was put in place for the selection of judges.”
The court also tried to clarify the apprehension of some states and high courts that it was against the federal structure if their power to appoint judges is taken away by a central agency.
The bench said the common test would be to simply prepare a merit list of successful candidates and the state would be allowed to appoint judges as per their rules.
Of the 24 high courts in India, nine have opposed the proposal of AIJS for the lower judiciary, eight courts have sought changes and only two courts have fully supported the proposal. The nine High courts which have opposed the idea are Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna and Punjab and Haryana.
Only the Sikkim and Tripura high courts have concurred with the proposal approved by the committee of secretaries to form an all-India service for the lower judiciary.
The Allahabad, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa and Uttarakhand high courts have suggested changes in the age at induction level, qualifications, training and quota of vacancies to be filled up through the AIJS.
The HCs of Jharkhand and Rajasthan informed that the AIJS matter is pending consideration, while no response has been received from Calcutta, Jammu and Kashmir and Gauhati HCs.
There were vacancies for 4,452 judges in subordinate courts in the country. While the sanctioned strength is 20,502, the actual number of judges and judicial officers in subordinate courts was 16,050 till December 2015.