The Madras High Court today issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on petitions challenging the proposed selection of 185 civil judges for the state judicial service.
Ordering issue of notice, a specially constituted Bench comprising Justice K Suguna and S Rajeswaran posted the petitions for hearing on February 13.
In a PIL petition, president of the Advocates' Forum for Social Justice, K Balu, challenged a January 13 Government Order and a consequential notification of January 21 of the state Home Department calling for applications for appointment of civil judges.
Balu said neither the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service Rules nor the Constitution had been amended enabling the High Court to conduct the recruitment to the post.
Since the recruitment was governed by the judicial service rules, the appointments, including the process of recruitment, should be undertaken by the government and the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), he said.
The High Court had no machinery or expertise to conduct the competitive examinations by direct recruitment to the post, he claimed.
As per rules, the recruitment could be done only by the TNPSC and it would not justify the High Court intention to seek permission of the government to conduct the recruitment itself, Bali said.
The government being the appointing authority could not delegate its powers to the High Court, the petitioner claimed.
In another petition, a city advocate T Sadatsaram said the impugned notification should comply with the judicial service rules, failing which it was liable to be struck down as ultra-vires of the Constitution.
The petitioner said the impugned notification listed the distribution of the 185 vacancies in accordance with the various categories of prospective applicants incorporating provision for reservation.
The provision of an uniform age limit for general and reserved category applicants in the notification violated Article 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law), he said.