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Postponement of Delhi Judicial examinations: Supreme Court to hear matter on March 15

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The Supreme Court on Friday listed the matter regarding postponement of the Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2022 and the Delhi Higher Judicial Services Examination 2022 for hearing on March 15.

“We call upon the High Court of Delhi, who is petitioner here before us, to inform the respondents/aspirants to make an application for DHJS Exam 2022, by March 12. The petitioner counsel is directed to inform them by phone or e-mail to file application by March 12. We list the matter for Tuesday,”

-observed a Bench comprising Chief Justice (CJI) N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli.

The Apex Court was seized of two matters, filed by the High Court of Delhi, through Registrar General. 

One of the SLP challenged the interim order of the Delhi High Court in case of Devina Sharma vs High Court of Delhi, wherein the High Court on an appeal by Devina Sharma who was aggrieved by upper age limit of 32 years for filling up of examination form for Delhi Judicial Services Examination 2022, has deferred the date for receiving of applications and postponed the exams accordingly. 

Second SLP challenged the Delhi High Court order, by which it had deferred the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Examination 2022, which is scheduled to be held on March 20, 2022, on a plea by four higher judicial service aspirants aggrieved by the prescribed minimum age limit of 35 years for appearing in the examination. 

The Supreme Court has set aside the interim order of Delhi High Court and issued notice to respondents in both the SLPs to file their response by March 15, 2022, date on which the Court will hear and decide the issue for all. The Court said the exam will take place as scheduled. However, it granted relief to Judicial Service Aspirants to fill up application forms for the Examination, and further to appear in the examination, the result of which will be subjected to outcome of the orders passed in the appeals. 

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Appearing for Delhi High Court, Senior Advocate A.D.N. Rao submitted that the order passed by the High Court Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice D.K. Sharma on a plea by Devina Sharma aggrieved by upper age limit for Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2022, will hamper examination process, which is already going on. The last date for filling of application form is March 20 and the examination will be held on March 27, 2022. The High Court has extended the date for receiving applications forms beyond April 7, 2022, and postponed the exams accordingly. He further submitted that Devina could not appear for the exams as she crossed the upper age limit of 32 years. 

CJI Ramana said it was unfortunate, very unfortunate. 

Devina Sharma appeared in person apprised the bench that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, she couldn’t appeared for the examination earlier. 

Justice Hima Kohli- According to your plea, you were eligible in 2019, but you chose not to give examination because you wanted to practice. Now suddenly in 2022, you want to appear for examination, this cannot be a ground to hold up the whole examination process. 

“The rule itself is clear about the eligibility. Why you want relaxation? You were qualified in 2019. You were eligible that time. You took a call that you don’t want to appear in examination,”

-said Justice Hima Kohli. 

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Devina submitted that it violated her fundamental right under Article 14 and 21. Covid pandemic may be considered. 

In her plea before the Delhi High Court, she had alleged that she was denied of her fundamental right of equality of opportunity in matters of public employment on account of the fact that the maximum age limit to appear in the examination for candidate belonging to General Category is fixed at 32 years as on January 1, 2022.

In second SLP, which was filed against deferment of the Delhi Higher Judicial Services Examination 2022, Senior Counsel ADN Rao submitted that for this, already 1200 candidates have applied, and the exam is scheduled to held on March 20. The High Court Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain had extended it beyond the period of four weeks, which resulted in halting of the examination process. 

The CJI asked how many writ petitioners were there in this matter and how many people have applied for the DHJS 2022. 

Total 10 petitioners and 1200 people have already applied for the examination, said the senior counsel. 

He further submitted that the petitioners, who have appeared before the High Court, did not even apply for DHJS Examination 2022 and the last date for applying is March 12. 

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CJI Ramana- We are suspending the order of the High Court. You may contact them and apprise them of the orders passed by this court. 

The Supreme Court in its order has recorded, “It is unfortunate that the petitioners, who were respondent before the High Court, not even filed their application forms. They sought age relaxation. The High Court has issued notice. Already, 1200 applications have been received and it’s not proper to extend the time limit, which is already fixed. We call upon the High Court of Delhi, who is petitioner here before us, to inform the respondents/aspirants to make an application for DHJS Exam 2022, by March 12. The petitioner counsel is directed to inform them by phone or e-mail to file application by March 12. We list the matter for Tuesday.

“In SLP, High Court of Delhi Vs Devina Sharma, the respondent/party in person Devina Sharma submitted that her Limited prayer is that she would appear in the examination. She submitted that there more than 5000 candidates applied for DJS. We feel it necessary to hear the matter and disposed of the same, without stalling the examination process. We permit the respondent to apply for the examination. And list the matter on Tuesday for final disposal”

-noted the Apex Court in its Order. 

The Court directed her to file her response by Tuesday. 

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