April 05, 2020
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Reform To Rebuild

The All India Judicial Service (AIJS) could be a way forward for the higher judiciary itself to develop its own model of recruitment.

Reform To Rebuild


  • Currently working: 16,176
  • Sanctioned strength: 20,558
  • Required sanctioned strength: 35,155
  • (2015 figures as per Supreme Court report: “Access to Justice”)
  • Current recruiting system (under Constitution): HCs select district judges; HCs select subordinate judiciary (Plus state PSC in some cases)


Why an alternative

  • Opacity of recruitment
  • Scams
  • Standardisation
  • Fake degrees
  • Test legal knowledge/jurisprudential qualities
  • Opacity in administration
  • Fair and effective promotions
  • Keep out political interference


All India Judicial Services

The All India Judicial Service (AIJS) could be a way forward for the higher judiciary itself to develop its own model of recruitment. This can be done independently with the help of other constitutional bodies such as the Law Commission, UPSC, retired and sitting judges, institutes and experts (academics). While the issue is pending before the Supreme Court, there are also several cases pending before the court that show the case backlog and the pending appointments which the current system is unable to fill. The issue is being put up for debate in public interest.


History AIJS mooted in/considered by

  • 1946 conference was held under Vallabbhai Patel
  • First Law Commission
  • Law Commission Report no. 14, 1958
  • Law Minister’s Conference 1960
  • AIJS mooted in 1976 under Swaran Singh Committee
  • 1976 Constitutional Amendment considered AIJS for district judges recruitment
  • Eighth Law Commission
  • 1986, 116th Law Commission report made expansive recommendations

Supreme Court Progress

  • Supreme Court monitoring judicial recruitment case instituted by All India Judges Association
  • In 1992, the AIJS was not pressed but other reforms instituted
  • SC noted constitutional and legislative amendments required
  • May 2017, 2nd Pay Commission set up under former judge to collect data. No order yet on AIJS.
  • Govt approached HCs for AIJS. Except two, all have declined AIJS.

(Source: SC orders)

All India Judges Association

  • An association of lower court judges who seek better pay and recruitment conditions
  • Approached SC in 1989 for creation of uniform service
  • Wants AIJS to be formed for all appointments
  • Structure of AIJS yet to be worked out
  • Does not want direct appointment to High Courts

(Source: functionaries of AIJA)

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