In news- Government of India is planning to give a fresh push to the establishment of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) on the lines of the central civil services.
Proposed All India Judicial Service (AIJS)-
- The AIJS is a reform push to centralise the recruitment of judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.
- In the way that the Union Public Service Commission conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.
History of AIJS & Judicial reforms-
- The idea of a centralised judicial service was first mooted in the Law Commission’s 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
- The idea was to ensure an efficient subordinate judiciary, to address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states, to fill vacancies faster, and to ensure standard training across states.
- A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standard, centralised exam to recruit and train judges was discussed.
- The chief justices’ conferences in 1961, 1963 and 1965 favoured creation of an AIJS.
- The provision of AIJS was included in Article 312 of the Constitution through the 42nd amendment in 1976.
- In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 15th Report backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.
Judiciary’s view on the AIJS-
- In All India Judges’ Assn. (1) v. Union of India case of 1991, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up an AIJS.
- In a 1993 review of the judgment, however, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
- In 2017, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism”.
- Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who was appointed amicus curiae by the court, circulated a concept note to all states in which he recommended conducting a common examination instead of separate state exams.
- Based on the merit list, High Courts would then hold interviews and appoint judges.
Current process of recruiting judges-
- Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges, and place it in the domain of the states.
- The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court, since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state.
- Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for appointment.
All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam which is commonly referred to as the judicial services exam