SC paves way for appointment of 107 Civil Judges

Tells HC to award 30 grace marks in two papers to all candidates and prepare fresh results in two weeks

SC paves way for appointment of 107 Civil Judges

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13

The Supreme Court on Friday paved the way for appointment of 107 judicial officers in Haryana by allowing candidates to avail the benefit of grace marks in the main (written) examination of Civil Judge (Junior Division) 2017, in which only nine of the 1,100-plus candidates had qualified.

A three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court through its Registrar General to award 20 grace marks in Civil Law-I paper and 10 grace marks in Civil Law-II paper to all candidates, prepare fresh results of the examination in two weeks and complete the selection process in four weeks thereafter.

Partially allowing the writ petitions, the Bench, which also included Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant, said the entire selection process should be completed in all respects before February 15, 2020.

“The left-out vacant posts along with vacancies which have occurred meanwhile and those anticipated within the next six months be advertised as early as possible and be filled in accordance with the timeline prescribed by this court in Malik Mazhar Sultan case,” it said.

However, the top court rejected the petitioners’ demand for re-evaluation by an “independent expert committee”, saying it was not worth acceptance. The Bench took note of the fact that the 107 posts were already lying vacant for a considerable long period and the re-evaluation would further delay it.

It said Justice (retd) AK Sikri, who looked into the evaluation process of the main examination for the 107 posts, thoroughly examined the situation before recommending the award of grace marks.

The top court pointed out that there was no provision for re-evaluation in the Recruitment Rules and any such direction would run counter to the mandate of this court in HP Public Service Commission versus Mukesh Thakur that in the absence of any provision, courts should not generally direct re-evaluation.

A total of 14,301 students took the preliminary examination held on December 22 last year and 1,282 of them were declared successful to take part in the main examination held on March 15 and 17 this year. More than 1,100 candidates appeared in the main examination, nut only nine qualified.

The High Court scrapped the entire preliminary examination held on July 16, 2017, on account of paper leak and issued direction for an inquiry.

The preliminary examination pursuant to re-notified vacancies was held on December 22, 2018, and its result declared on January 21, 2019. The main examination was held between March 15 and 17 and the results declared on April 11, wherein six candidates from the general category and three from reserved categories were declared qualified.

The order came on a petition filed by 92 aspirants seeking quashing of the result. They challenged the selection process and evaluation method, terming the entire exercise as “unreasonable, arbitrary and mala fide”.

They alleged that RTI applications filed immediately after the result, seeking disclosure of marks, copies of answer scripts, model answers and marking criteria, were not answered and interviews were scheduled.

It was surprising that between 20 and 30 candidates who appeared in the main examination and were not selected for the interview were those who had already cleared judicial examinations of other states or were sitting judges in their respective states, they pointed out.

About the ruling

  • CJI-led Bench orders 20 grace marks in Civil Law-I paper; 10 grace marks in Civil Law-II
  • Rejects petitioners’ demand for re-evaluation by independent expert committee
  • Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar General to prepare fresh results of main (written) examination in two weeks
  • Entire selection process to be completed before February 15, 2020
  • Left-out vacant posts with vacancies and those anticipated in next six months to be advertised as early as possible

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