SC for All-India Judicial Service

In what could be the first step towards having an All India Judicial Service, the Supreme Court has sought the views of the High Courts on the possibility of entrusting recruitment of 25 per cent posts in the higher judiciary Additional Sessions Judges and above to a national authority.

Sources in the Supreme Court say the national body could either be set up by the apex court in consultation with the Union Ministry of Law and Justice or the responsibility could be handed over to the Union Public Service Commission. The selection process would be on an all-India basis akin to the civil services recruitment.

Formation of an All India Judicial Service has been a long-pending demand, which has found support from members of the judiciary, jurists as well as successive governments. Sources say the proposal for having an all-India judicial service was mooted by the first, eighth and the 11th Law Commissions as well as the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.

In at least two judgments delivered in the early '90s, even the apex court had recommended the setting up of an all-India judicial service. In fact, in its judgment in the All India Judges Association case, the SC Bench had spoken of the need for having an All-India Judicial Service.

At present, almost all states have a system of selecting members of the subordinate judiciary. But, judiciary continues to be the only service that does not boast of a national service.

Says E M Sudarsana Natchiappan, Chairman, Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, "There is certainly a need to have an all-India judicial service as it would take care of the problem of shortage of judges. It would also ensure that the process of appointing judges to the higher judiciary becomes more transparent."

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