Sunday, June 4, 2023

Delhi High Court dismisses plea challenging constitutional validity of Rule 9(2) of the Delhi Higher Judiciary Services Rules

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The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea that challenges constitutional validity of the recently amended Rule 9(2) of the Delhi Higher Judiciary Services Rules, 1970 (the Rules).

 The Bench comprising  of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav have  rejected the plea which was moved saying that they  are unable to accept that Rule 9(2), as set out above, falls foul of Article 233 of the Constitution of India. 

On the contrary, Rule 9(2) of the Rules is in conformity with the decision in the case of Deepak Aggarwal v. Keshav Kaushik & Ors.

In this case the plea was moved by a lawyer Praveen Garg who argued that Rule 9(2) of the Rules falls foul of Article 233(2) of the Constitution of India as the same does not expressly require a candidate to be in continuous practice of at least 7 years to be eligible to be appointed as a District Judge.

The Rule 9(2) was recently  amended on February 2, 2022 after the Top  Court said that the qualifications for direct recruits shall be as follows: (1) He must be a citizen of India. (2)He must have been continuously practising as an Advocate for not less than seven years as on the last date of receipt of applications. (3) He must have attained the age of 35 years and have not attained the age of 45 years on the 1st day of January of the year in which the applications for appointment are invited.

As per the Article 233(2) of the Constitution of India, any person who is not currently in service of the Union or the State can be eligible to be appointed as a District Judge only if he was an advocate or pleaser for 7 years or more as recommended by the High Court for appointment.

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Prateek Gupta appeared who  submitted that the petitioner had practiced as an advocate cumulatively for a period of 7 years and 2 months and was right candidate under the eligibility criteria mentioned in Article 233(2).
Rule 9(2) requires an applicant to be in continuous practice of at least 7 years as on the date of the application.

The counsel of petitioner said that petitioner secured 584.5 marks out of 1000 marks in Delhi High Judiciary Examination which were higher than the marks secured by the candidate placed at the 32nd position of the selection list but his name was not included in the list on ground of not meeting  eligibility criteria.

Respondent counsel said that the Court noted and relied upon the interpretation of Article 233 (2) of the Constitution of India, that means seven years immediately preceding his appointment/application and not seven years at any time in the past.
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed as unmerited.

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