Nine high courts have objected to a plan for a countrywide exam for recruitment to lower judiciary, a proposal that has the backing of the Supreme Court.
The government has proposed an exam on the lines of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, better known as NEET, held for medical course to select judicial officers to address concerns over the quality of junior judges and lack of uniformity in recruitment.
The high courts of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna and Punjab and Haryana are not in favour of the idea, the law ministry recently told a parliamentary panel.
They want “the administrative control over the subordinate judiciary to remain with the respective high courts”, the document sent by the ministry to the consultative committee on law says.
The courts’ stand is contrary to the views of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar who said the new system would ensure quick appointment of competent judges necessary for an effective judiciary. The exam would bring uniformity in the selection process and curb nepotism and favouritism in judiciary, the top court said on August 4.
The quality is a concern as many of those recruited as magistrates go on to serve in high courts.
Nearly 5,000 posts are vacant in the subordinate judiciary, nearly a fourth of the total 21,320 positions.
Around 27 million cases are pending in district courts, as per National Judicial Grid Data, hobbling India’s justice delivery system. Around 10% of these cases, or around 2.4 million, are more than 10 years old.