SC questions delay in completing recruitment process for district judges in Madhy Pradesh

The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the delay in completing the process of recruitment of district judges in Madhya Pradesh and asked the high court to prepare and publish the schedule from preliminary examination to the declaration of final results of selection.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra passed a slew of directions while dealing with a 2006 plea relating to the improvement of judicial infrastructure including filling up of vacancies in lower judiciary across the country.

The top court dealt with the issues of judicial infrastructure and the vacancies in lower judiciary in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

It perused a report of senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who along with lawyer Sneha Kalita, is assisting the bench as amicus, and asked if the vacancies for post of 21 additional district judges were advertised in August then why the date of preliminary examination is fixed for it on December 3, 2023.

“Why this delay of over two months,” the CJI asked the counsel for Madhya Pradesh High Court.

“On 22 August 2023, 21 vacancies were advertised for direct recruitment of district judges…The date of preliminary examination has been notified on December 3, 2023,” it noted in its order.

This indicated that more than two months have elapsed since the advertisement before the date is notified, it said.

“The High Court must lay down a timeframe in the advertisement itself. Within a period of one week, the high court must prepare and publish a schedule…,” it said.

The bench said the high court registry shall ensure that the schedule includes the date of completing the assessment of answer sheets, declaration of results, date of conducting interviews and notification of the list of selected candidates.

The top court also passed directions with regard to speedy completion of the recruitment process for civil judges of junior and senior division in Madhya Pradesh.

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On the issue of lack of infrastructure in trial courts in Madhya Pradesh, the bench asked lawyer Arjun Garg, assisting it on behalf of the high court, to meet the state chief secretary, the Registrar General and the law secretary and file a report by December 7.

The order was passed after the bench was apprised of difficulties being faced in allocation of land for lower judiciary in the state.

A similar order was passed for Punjab also on the issue of lack of infrastructure in Punjab.

Earlier, the top court had taken note of the “urgent need” to ensure filling up of 275 vacancies for the post of junior civil judge in Haryana and directed the state to take necessary steps to ensure that the recruitment is conducted.

It had said that the recruitment be conducted by a committee consisting of three judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court nominated by the chief justice there, the state’s chief secretary, the Advocate General of Haryana and the chairperson of the Haryana Public Service Commission.

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