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Supreme Court relaxes upper-age limit for Delhi Judicial service exams

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The Supreme Court on Monday, as one-time measure, relaxed the upper age limit criteria of 32 years as the eligibility for the Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2022 and the age of 45 years for the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Examination 2022, who had otherwise qualified in the year 2020 and 2021, but did not appear as no examination was held in those years. 

A three-Judge Bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing the plea. 

Giving the benefit of age relaxation to the judicial services aspirants, the Apex Court extended the dates for submission of application form for Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2022, till April 3, 2022 and the examination to be held on 24th April 2022. The Supreme Court noted that the examinations were not held in 2020 due to the Administrative Reasons and in the year 2021, due the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now the result of this, it could be seen as a relief to thousands of Judicial Services Aspirants who were eligible and qualified for the Delhi Judicial Service Examination in 2020 & 2021, but could not appear for the same, as no examination were held in those years, eligible and qualified to for the examination this year. The Court has also extended the benefit to those Candidates who wants to appear in Delhi Higher Judicial Service Examination 2022, but have crossed the maximum age limit of 45 years in 2022. However, the Top Court has upheld the criteria for minimum age of 35 years for the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Examination, 2022. 

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The Court has recorded in its order, that the recommendation of Shetty Commission initially followed In three judge judgment of this court in All India Judges Assn. (III) v. Union of India 2002 4 SCC 247. The rules of several high court provide for recruitment to the higher judicial services that the candidate should have minimum 35 years and maximum 45 years. It is further noted in a three judge bench judgment in case of Hirandra Kumar vs High Court Of Judicature At Allahabad, Wherein it had observed that Prescribing of any age limit for a given post, as also deciding the extent to which any relaxation can be given if an age limit is prescribed, are essentially matters of policy. 

Further the Court has stated, it must be remembered, the direct recruitment to the DHJS is intended to be from the member of the bar who have sufficient experience. The high courts would be well within their domain for prescribing the minimum age for candidate appearing in higher judiciary. In the circumstances we are of the view that there is absolutely no merits in the submission. We don’t find any merit in challenge to the minimum age limit of 35 years for higher judiciary.

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The Supreme Court therefore, permitted candidates for DHJS exams upper age limit of 45 years those who could not be able to give exam in year 2020, & 2021, who may have been otherwise qualified, due to reasons stated in above. On parity with the order passed in DJS Exams 2022. It directed the High Court of Dehi Administrative side, to upload the notifications on its website. Last date for Submission of Forms for the DHJS 2022, extended to March 26, 2022. The DHJS exam 2022, to be held on 3rd April 2022, the Court noted. 

The Supreme Court in its order dated 11th March 2022, had said its unfortunate that Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2022 and Delhi Higher Judicial Services Examination 2022 have been postponed.

On Friday, the bench headed by the CJI NV Ramana, and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli heard two matters filed challenging the Delhi High Court order. Both matters before the Apex Court filed by High Court of Delhi, through Registrar General. 

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One of the SLP was filed challenging 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 was filed challenging the order of Delhi High Court 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 prescribed minimum age limit of 35 years for appearing in the examination. 

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