1. Here’s why reservations in all-India judicial services is a bad idea

Here’s why reservations in all-India judicial services is a bad idea

Creating a National Judicial Services cadre, as prime minister Narendra Modi suggested at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court, is something that has been recommended by others as well.

By: | Published: November 2, 2016 6:19 AM
Given the strength of the judiciary in subordinate courts is over a fifth short of the total number of the sanctioned posts, such a move is likely to help ease pendency. (PTI) Given the strength of the judiciary in subordinate courts is over a fifth short of the total number of the sanctioned posts, such a move is likely to help ease pendency. (PTI)

Creating a National Judicial Services cadre, as prime minister Narendra Modi suggested at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court, is something that has been recommended by others as well. The Law Commission pitched for this in its 116th report and even the Constitution (Fourty-second Amendment) Act 1976 inserted an “all-India judicial services” provision into Article 312 that lays down the legal ground for creation of All-India Services. An all-India judicial service will create a cadre of judges who can be appointed at the districts courts level across the country.

Given the strength of the judiciary in subordinate courts is over a fifth short of the total number of the sanctioned posts, such a move is likely to help ease pendency. And, as they get promoted to higher courts, it will also help address the uncle-judge problem since appointments from a national cadre will lessen the nepotism that is characteristic of the current selection-based elevation. Of course, given the stand-off between the SC and the government, the chances of an early decision on the National Judicial Services issue seem slim.

That apart, the prime minister’s suggestion that the National Judicial Services could also be a way to bring Dalits into the judiciary was decidedly odd. Given elections in Uttar Pradesh are due next year, and given its sizeable Dalit population, the statement appears as if it is aimed at addressing a vote-bank. This is unfortunate not only because a decision of such import shouldn’t be taken on a vote-bank consideration, but also because instead of moving away from reservations, we seem to be embracing them all the more closely with the political class seeking to bypass even the 49% ceiling.

To be sure, there are reserved category positions at the subordinate judiciary level under the state-specific judicial services exam. But the vacancies in the courts cut indiscriminately across categories—for instance, in Delhi, the notification for the 2015 Delhi Judicial Services Exam advertised 100 posts, with 68 vacancies listed under the General category (41 of which were backlog vacancies), 12 listed under the SC category (7 backlog vacancies) and 20 listed under the ST category (17 backlog vacancies).

Perhaps the strongest argument against creating any further route for reservation in the judiciary comes, ironically, from a report of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on reservation in the judiciary—it argues for reservation in the judiciary saying reserved seats in premier legal education institutions like the National Law Schools creates a pool of competent legal professionals who can enter the judiciary. It seems completely oblivious to the contradiction that such an eligible pool of professionals wouldn’t need reservation in the first place.

  1. A
    A.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm
    Pendency of cases in courts runs in millions with no reservation. Nothing worse could be imagined with reservation. The acquittal of Laxmanpur Bathe macre accused by a Division Bench comprising upper caste jusdges of the Patna High Court strikes at the so-called merit and competence upper castes propogate. Nothing has yet been done to undo the wrongs inflcited on victims of the dalits carnage. Such cases of injustice can be multiplied. Introduce reservation in judicial appointments for scheduled castes, tribes and obcs and open it to the derpived sections of India. Let the closed grazing ground be accessible to these sections as well.
    Reply
    1. K
      K.Jayakrishnan
      Nov 2, 2016 at 3:54 am
      That`s the wrong way to go. Looking at elections and propagating quotas will put this govt in the same category as UPA I and UPA II and their ilk. Hope better sense prevails. Otherwise the judiciary will also go down the same path as education, and govt services.
      Reply
      1. S
        Shankar
        Nov 2, 2016 at 9:08 am
        Unless there are large numbers of Dalits in the upper levels of the judiciary, this country will remain the casteist that it now is.
        Reply
        1. S
          Shankar
          Nov 2, 2016 at 9:09 am
          Unless there are many Dalits in the upper levels of judiciary, this country will remain the casteist that it now is.
          Reply

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