Judges of family court not entitled to promotion to HC: SC

Judges of family court not entitled to promotion to HC: SC

The court said numerous tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies, which are settling disputes of different nature, cannot be called courts whose presiding officers are entitled for being elevated to High Courts.

"Such tribunals or bodies exercise a very limited jurisdiction. It will not be appropriate to treat them as an inextricble part of state judicial services or call them courts as understood in our Constitution merely because they give a final decision, because they hear witnesses, because two or more contesting parties appear before them, because they give decisions which affect the right of the parties and an appeal might be provided against their decision," the apex court said.

A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and C K Prasad passed the order while dismissing the pleas of judges of family court of Mahrashtra who had pleaded that like other higher judicial officers of lower court they should also be elevated to the Bombay High Court.
"The expression `judicial service' cannot be given a wider meaning than the one given to it under the Constitution. To expand that meaning to the extent that all services dealing with the process of determination of disputes should be included would tantamount to introducing words which have not been used by the Constitution," the bench said.

"Keeping in view the limited exposure that is available to the Presiding Officers of the Family Court, it may not be feasible to hold that such officers are holding a `judicial office' in terms of Article 217(2)(a) and are eligible for consideration for elevation to the High Court," the court said.

The judges of family courts submitted before the apex court that they should also be elevated to the High Court as they hold judicial office and discharge judicial functions under the statutory rules.

The apex court, however, was not convinced with their contention and dismissed their petition saying the nature of their functioning, transferability and conditions of service do not justify parity with the members of the higher judicial services.

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