March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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A NON-STARTER: ON THE SUGGESTION FOR AN ALL-INDIA JUDICIAL SERVICE

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THE CONTEXT: The President suggested that an All-India Judicial Service will help make the judiciary diverse by increasing representation from marginalised social groups.

MORE ON THE NEWS

  • The President suggested that the creation of an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) will help diversify the judiciary by allowing bright youngsters from varied backgrounds.
  • The idea has been mooted and discussed in the past and has been part of discussions on official policy in the Union government for years.
  • However, as the Union Law Minister disclosed last year in the Rajya Sabha, there is no consensus on the proposal.
  • Only two High Courts agreed to the idea, while 13 were against it.

ABOUT ALL INDIA JUDICIAL SERVICE(AIJS)

  • The idea of AIJS was first proposed by 14th Report of Law Commission titled ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’ in 1958.
  • The All-India Judicial Service is a proposal to create a recruitment of district judges centrally through an all-India examination and allocated to each State along the lines of the All-India Services such as IAS and IPS.
  • The current system of recruitment of district judges is through the respective High Courts and other subordinate judicial officers, through public service commissions.
  • Article 312 of the Constitution, as amended by the 42nd Amendment, provides for the creation of an AIJS.

VIEWS OF THE PRESIDENT ON THE ALL-INDIA JUDICIAL SERVICE

  • The President said that a more varied representation of India’s unique diversity on the Bench and the Bar definitely helps serve the cause of justice better.
    • One way to hasten this diversification process can be the creation of a system in which judges can be recruited from varied backgrounds through a process that is merit-based, competitive and transparent.
  • There can be an all-India judicial service which can select brilliant youngsters and nurture and promote their talents from lower levels to higher levels.
  • Those who aspire to serve the Bench can be selected from across the country to create a larger pool of talent.
  • Such a system can offer opportunities to the less-represented social groups too.
  • A national judicial service could be established to identify and cultivate talented young people, promoting them from lower to higher levels.
  • Individuals interested in serving on the Bench could be chosen from all over the country, creating a larger pool of talent.
  • This system could provide opportunities for underprivileged social groups as well.
  • The President said India has been deepening democracy since winning freedom by upholding justice and equality and empowering every citizen.

ISSUES

States unlikely to agree: It is unlikely that all States will agree to one more subject from their domain being consumed by centralisation.

Legal education lacks country-wide uniformity:  However, it cannot be forgotten that legal education lacks country-wide uniformity. After enrolling, lawyers typically consider judicial service based on practical experience rather than academic brilliance.

Unlikely to sit for an NJS recruitment examination: Toppers, especially from the few elite law schools, are unlikely to sit for a national judicial service (NJS) recruitment examination. In comparison, options such as litigation, joining law firms and going into the corporate sector will appear more beneficial.

Lack of certainty: Number of district judges elevated to the High Courts is much lower than those from the Bar, the lack of certainty on career progression may also render a national judicial service unattractive.

WAY FORWARD

  • Over the years, some states and high courts have expressed opposition to the formation of an All-India Judicial Service.
  • Therefore, before establishing an AIJS, consensus is needed among the central government, states, and the judiciary.
  • Efforts should be directed towards implementing more immediate solutions to address the challenges faced by the Indian judiciary.

CONCLUSION:

The establishment of an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) is a complex and controversial issue that requires careful consideration and consensus-building among all stakeholders. It is essential to address the concerns and ensure that all stakeholders are on board. In the meantime, efforts should focus on implementing other measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Indian judiciary.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION:

Q) Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (2017)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q) “Good intentions do not always make for sound policy”. In this context discuss the issues with the implementation of the All-India Judicial Service (AIJS).

SOURCE: A non-starter: The Hindu Editorial on President Droupadi Murmu’s suggestion for an All-India Judicial Service – The Hindu

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