How the judges of lower judiciary are selected currently across India? What is recent stance of Supreme Court on All-India common test for lower judiciary? Discuss.

India has an integrated judicial structure with Supreme Court at the apex followed by high courts at state level and district courts at district level.
Governor in consultation with State public service commission and high court makes appointments to the state judicial services below the rank of district judge. Selection exam is held by SPSC as well as high court with each state having their own mechanism. PCSs, makes appointment at lower judiciary i.e. Munsif Court and through the exam conducted by High Court an Additional District Judge (ADJ) is appointed.
 Supreme Court has favoured the introduction of All India common test for the selection of lower judiciary as:

  1. Centralized mechanism would ensure appointment of competent judges
  2. Pave way for effective judiciary
  3. Supreme courts report Indian judiciary Annual report for 2015-16 mentioned that 2.8 crore cases were pending in lower courts. With vacancy of 5000 judicial officers in district courts
  4. Efficient lower judiciary would help protect poor who are main litigants from catastrophic cost.
  5. State PSCs are inefficient and marred by cases of corruption.

This step has been opposed by states and High courts as:

  1. It is against the federal structure
  2. Take away their role in appointment.
  3. States have different customs etc which need to be taken in to account when dealing with civil cases a centrally elected may not be able to check knowledge in this.

Centralized agency is a good initiative towards making lower judiciary efficient but concerns of High courts and other stake holder needs to be taken in to account.

Question for UPSC Mains:
How the judges of lower judiciary are selected currently across India? What is recent stance of Supreme Court on All-India common test for lower judiciary? Discuss.

Published: September 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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