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SC upholds minimum qualifying marks in interview for selection on judicial posts in Bihar, Gujarat

The SC also issued a slew of directions including that the HCs “should notify a designated authority for a given recruitment process.

judicial postsNEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the rules stipulating minimum qualifying marks in the viva voce test as part of the selection criteria for the appointment of judicial officers in Bihar and Gujarat.

Taking note of the concerns of the judicial services, aspirants and tardy selection process for judges in the district judiciary, the top court also issued a slew of directions including that the high courts “should notify a designated authority for a given recruitment process with clearly defined roles, functions and responsibilities” to deal with issues of the candidates.

The verdict came from a bench comprising justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra on a batch of petitions filed by various unsuccessful aspirants of the district judicial services of Bihar and Gujarat.

The petitions dealt with the question “whether prescribing minimum marks for interview contravenes” the 2002 judgment of the apex court in the All India Judges case.

“The Prescription of minimum qualifying marks for interview is permissible and this is not in violation of All India Judges (2002) which accepted certain recommendations of the K J Shetty Commission,” the judgment said.

Writing the 59-page judgment for the bench, Justice Roy said the apex court judgment cannot be considered as having authoritatively pronounced on doing away with the minimum cut-off marks in the interview segment.

The verdict upheld and termed as legally valid the “selection process” of Bihar and Gujarat.

It also rejected the submissions challenging a clause of the Bihar Rules, 1951 and Rule 8(3) of the Gujarat Rules, 2005 which prescribed minimum marks for interview.

The recruitment pertained to the selection of judicial officers of different ranks and respective selection cycles, that is “District Judge (Entry Level) by direct recruitment from the Bar (2015 Advertisement) for the State of Bihar and the post of Civil Judge (2019 and 2022 Advertisement) for the State of Gujarat”.

Besides seeking to set aside the selection, a set of petitions had urged that a clause of the Bihar Superior Judicial (Amendment) Rules was contrary to the recommendation of the Shetty Commission.

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