The Hon'ble President / General Secretary
All India Judges Association.
Subject :- Injustice on lower cadre Judges.
I am serving in the cadre Civil Judge Junior Division, I found very frustrating and discouraging environment around me. There is no enthusiasm and motivation among the judicial officers serving in subordinate level. The foremost and important reason of this is that there is no opportunity for young and meritorious judicial officers to compete for the higher post of District Judge. Therefore the situation is like once a Magistrate always Magistrate. A person can be motivated if he has the guarantee that his merit, hard work, and experience will be rewarded through progress in his carrier. But situation is very different in subordinate judicial service.
For the betterment of the service condition of subordinate court Judges First National Judicial Pay Commission, popularly known as Shetty Commission was appointed. Considering the recommendation of Shetty Commission the Hon'ble Apex Court in the matter of All India Judges Association reported in the 2002 SCC 247, 2002 Supreme 180, laid down the fallowing method for the recruitment for the post of District Judge:-
- 50% by promotion from amongst the Civil Judges Senior Division on the basis of merit cum seniority.
- 25% by promotion strictly on the basis of merit through limited competitive examination amongst Civil Judge Senior Division having not less than five years qualifying service on that post ( which is now reduced by 10% by subsequent order of Apex Court and now 65% is available for promotion on seniority cum merit basis to the Civil Judge Senior Division)
- 25% by direct recruitment amongst the Advocate who have completed not less than 7 years of practice on the basis of written and viva test conducted by respective High Courts.
By the above scheme of recruitment only Civil Judge Senior Division and Advocate having 7 years practice is eligible for the post of District Judge through promotional channel and direct recruitment respectively. The Civil Judge Junior Division excluded and debarred from the consideration for the post of District Judge, irrespective of his higher sided experience of Bench as compared to Advocate. Therefore this situation is like the post of Civil Judge Junior Division is disqualification to be consider for the post of District Judge.
It takes the period of 9 to 10 year to get the first promotion of Civil Judge Senior Division and serving judicial officer has to again wait for minimum 5 years to come in zone of consideration to get the promotion of District Judge. This condition is very onerous, unjustified and biased, on the serving judicial officers as compared to Advocate. The Advocates merely putting the 7 years practice in Bar become eligible for the post of District Judge and without going to the hard test of survival in judicial service get the direct entry in the cadre of District Judge and becomes the Higher authority over the experienced judicial officer of lower cadre.
It is common phenomenon that the candidates who failed in the examination for the post of Civil Judge and Junior Division conducted by the state service commission remains in the Bar and after completion of 7 years practice becomes the District Judge on early age. On the other hand the Civil Judge Junior Division who enters the judicial service in the young age of life and puts his whole life in serving the judiciary reached only up to the post of Ad-hoc District Judge if he his lucky otherwise maximum Judicial Officer retired on the post of Civil Judge Senior Division.
The frustrating and discouraging situation prevailing in lower level, therefore the meritorious candidates are not inclined to join the judicial service in lowest cadre in spite of salary in higher side. Even if any ambitious meritorious candidate joined due to attraction of the post Judgeship then he does not remain for long in service and there is a growing trend of resigning from judicial service.
It is not the case that the above mention pathetic situation is not considered in the report of Shetty Commission. Shetty Commission is in favour to allow the young and meritorious serving Judges to compete for the post of District Judge. Shetty Commission opined that to promote efficiency, improve discipline in Judicial Service and to make judicial officer to work more efficiently, diligently and sincerely the serving young and meritorious Judicial officers are required to be allowed to compete with Advocate in direct recruitment for the post of District Judge. Hence Shetty Commission recommended in Chapter 11 in its report that, Article 233 of Constitution of India be amended and Clause (2) of Article 233 be substituted with following clause:-
'' (2) A person shall be eligible to be appointed directly as a District Judge if he has for not less than seven years as an Advocate or held Judicial Office in the territory of India and is reccomended by the High Court for the appointment.''
As this recommendation of allowing the serving Judicial Officers for the post of District Judge through direct recruitment is made, hence Shetty Commission has not considered them eligible for the post of District Judge through promotional channel. Prior to Shetty Commission Civil Judge Junior Division was eligible to be considered for the post of District Judge through promotional channel.
Unfortunately the above recommendation of allowing the serving Judicial Officer to compete with Advocate for the post of District Judge through direct recruitment was not touched by Hon'ble Apex Court while framing scheme for the recruitment of District Judge. There is no finding in the Judgment of Hon'ble Apex Court about above recommendation of Shetty Commission. This recommendation is also not rejected till date, and awaiting due consideration by the Apex Court. Due to this the cadre of Civil judge Junior Division is totally excluded to be considered for the post of District Judge which they were earlier entitled through promotional channel and this is nothing but injustice to them. This is a violation of fundamental right of equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India
We the Judicial Officers serving in the cadre of Civil Judge Junior Division do not want the post of District Judge through promotional channel our only request is that we be allowed to compete for the post of District Judge in direct recruitment. There is no rationale or logic to keeping us out when Advocate practicing before us are allowed to apply for the District Judge. This situation has lowered our spirit and feeling of victimization is prevailing amongst us, if this dangerous situation is not properly handled by urgent steps, then there will be continuous damage to the system which will not be compensated. This situation posed the basic question, how the sufferer of injustice can dispense the justice to others?
Hence it is requested to our Association to urgently take this cause of justice of lower cadre Judicial Officers, by filling appropriate petition before Hon'ble Apex Court and prevent further deterioration of this system, because the demoralized and frustrated Judicial Officers cannot be a strong pillars of the temple of justice. It is further requested that my this article may kindly be published in souvenir.
ASHWAGHOSH DAMGHOSH RAMTEKE J.M.F.C. Motor Vehicles Court, Nashik Road, Nashik,