Prescribing Minimum qualifying marks of 40% in Interview for Judges Selection is valid: Gujarat HC [Read Judgment]

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Gujarat High Court has upheld the provision prescribing minimum qualifying marks of 40% in viva-voce conducted for direct recruitment to the cadre of District Judge and Civil Judge.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice R.Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul M Pancholi has held that the amendment made in sub-rule (3) of Rule 8 in the Gujarat State Judicial Services Rules, 2005 prescribing minimum qualifying marks of 40% in viva-voce conducted for direct recruitment to the cadre of District Judge and Civil Judge is neither in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution nor in violation of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the  All India Judges’ Association Case.

The recruitment to the cadre of District Judge in the State of Gujarat is governed by Gujarat State Judicial Services Rules, 2005. Rule 5 provides for the method of recruitment, qualification and the age limit. Rule 8 of Rules of 2005 provides for the competitive examination. The Rules of 2005 came to be amended on 23.06.2011 by Gujarat State Judicial Services (Amendment) Rules of 2011. The grievance of the petitioner is that the recommendation for the appointment of the petitioner could not go through for the reason which the petitioner came to know later on that he failed to secure minimum 40% marks out of 50 marks which was prescribed as benchmark by the selection committee. It is the case of the petitioner that though the Rules of 2005 did not prescribe any such condition of securing benchmark at the interview level for being finally selected, such criteria was wrongly applied by the selection committee. The petitioner has filed the present petition in which the petitioner has also challenged the vires of Rule 8(3) of Amendment Rules of 2011.

The High Court has considered the following questions:

1) Whether it is open for the petitioner to challenge the criteria prescribed under amended sub-rule (3) of rule 8 after having participated in the selection process and having failed to obtain minimum qualifying marks?

2) Whether the amendment made in sub- rule (3) of rule 8 in the Rules of 2005, prescribing minimum qualifying marks of 40% in viva-voce conducted for direct recruitment to the cadre of District Judge and Civil Judge is violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and the directions issued by the  Apex Court in the case of All India Judges’ Association ?

The High Court has answered the first question as follows:

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