New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the members of the subordinate judicial services cannot be considered eligible for appointment as district judges through the way of direct recruitment.
In its verdict, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said: "In the cases where such in service incumbents have been appointed by way of direct recruitment from bar, we find no merit in the petitions and due to dismissal of the writ petitions filed by the judicial officers. As sequel, no fruits can be ripened on the basis of selection without eligibility, they cannot continue as District Judges."
The top court observed the posts of district judges is limited for lawyers, having a minimum of seven years of experience of continuous practice at the Bar. "Advocate has to be continuing in practice for not less than 7 years as on the cut-off date and at the time of appointment as district judge," it observed.
The court also observed that the members of judicial service having 7 years'' experience of practice before they have joined the service or having combined experience of 7 years as a lawyer and member of the judiciary are not eligible to apply for direct recruitment as district judges.
The top court interpreted Article 233 sub clause 2 of the Constitution for its verdict. The provision states that a person who is already in the service of the Union or of the State shall not be eligible to be appointed as a district judge.
"The rules framed by the High Court prohibiting judicial service officers from staking claim to the post of District Judge against the posts reserved for Advocates by way of direct recruitment, cannot be said to be ultra vires and are in conformity with Articles 14, 16 and 233 of the Constitution," said the court.
However, the apex court noted that the members of subordinate judiciary can be considered for the post of district Judge by way of promotion.