Monday, June 5, 2023

Petition in Supreme Court seeks changes in eligibility criteria for Civil Judge Exam in Andhra Pradesh

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the State of Andhra Pradesh and Registrar of High Court on a plea challenging the pre-requisite condition of 3 yrs of practice as an advocate to be eligible for the Civil Judge Exam in Andhra Pradesh. 

The Court, however, refused to pass an interim order on the plea. The bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose was hearing a plea filed by Regalagadda Venkatesh, an aspirant to the Civil Judge post in the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Services, who has sought for the quashing of Rule 5 (2)(a)(i) of the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules, 2007 notified on 28.07.2017 being in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Advocate Aditya Soni appearing for the petitioners today submitted, “There was a time when law used to be the last option & here is a child trying for second consecutive years.”

Replying to Soni, Justice Indira Banerjee said, “Fortunately, law has become one of the most competitive subjects of late.”

The petitioner has submitted that in the year 2008,  Rule 5 (2)(a)(i) of the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules, 2007 required a person to be a holder of a Degree in Law awarded by any University established by Law in India to be eligible for the post of Civil Judge in the State.

However, subsequent to the bifurcation of the State of Andhra Pradesh into the present State of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, on  28.07.2017, the Andhra Pradesh state notified certain Amendments  after which Rule 5(2)(a)(i) of the Rules of 2007 required an advocate to have  not less than 3 years practice to be eligible for the post of a Civil Judge in the State. 

“Pursuant to the amendments notified by both the States, batches of Writ Petitions were filed before the common High Court thereby challenging the amendment made to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) by the States as being in contravention to Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. That while the above Writ Petitions were pending, the common High Court was bifurcated in January 2019 into High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad and Respondent no. 2. It is here pertinent to mention that subsequent to the High Court bifurcation, a batch of Writ Petitions were referred to the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad thereby challenging the amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i), which were subsequently allowed thereby declaring the amendment to Rule 5(2)(a)(i) by the State of Telangana as unconstitutional and to be against the holding of this Hon’ble Court in “All India Judges Association and Ors. Vs. Union.”

Consequent to publication of such Notification, a batch of Writ Petitions were filed before the Andhra Pradesh High Court where the matter has been listed for hearing on 04.02.2021, while the last date to apply for the said Civil Judge examination is 02.01.2021.

Also Read: A first, Supreme Court Bar Association election to be held virtually on NSDL platform

The bench agreed to list the matter on reopening of the Court.

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