K'taka HC opposes all-India test for recruitment of district judges

K'taka HC opposes all-India test for recruitment of district judges

The High Court Karnataka has opposed before the Supreme Court a proposal on the 'central selection mechanism' for the appointment of judges in district courts across the country.

It maintained that such a move would affect its power of recruiting district judges. Besides, the Kannada language spoken with a distinct accent in four different regions of the state would be a barrier for a candidate outside Karnataka.

In an affidavit, the high court's registrar general submitted that the recruitment rules for appointment of district judges have been framed and that regular and periodical appointments are being held as per the prescribed syllabus.

The apex court is examining a suo motu petition initiated on the basis of a letter sent by Justice Department Secretary Snehlata Shrivastava. In May, the court had decided to examine if a single all-India test by one agency could be organised to fill vacancies in the subordinate judiciary in all the states.

District court judges are selected by the high courts through separate examinations.

Earlier, the high courts of Calcutta, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had recorded their opposition to the proposal.

Responding to a concept note prepared after the apex court's orders on August 4, the High Court of Karnataka said: "The registrar (recruitment) is entrusted with the task of preparing and notifying vacancies on (a) regular basis and inviting applications."

It stated further: "Though the actual power of appointment of judges to the district judiciary would remain with Governor, the other requirement of sub-clause (1) of Article 233 that such appointments shall be made by the Governor in consultation with the HC would be compromised and done away with if the method suggested in adopted."

It added: "The role of the HC would be nil."

Among others, it said, unless one is acclimatised to the culture, customs and traditions and the way people transact, the judicial officer would find it difficult to comprehend the factual matrix of the case and it may have an adverse effect on the efficient discharge of his/her judicial functions.

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