SRIKANT ROY & ORS. Vs. STATE OF JHARKHAND & ORS.
LAWS(SC)-2016-11-50
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on November 16,2016

Srikant Roy And Ors. Appellant
VERSUS
State Of Jharkhand And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

A.M.KHANWILKAR,J. - (1.) Leave granted.
(2.) This common judgment will dispose all the four petitions.
(3.) The leading Civil Appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.9883/2009, is directed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi in W.P.(S) No.4159/2008 dated 29th August 2008. By the said Writ Petition, the writ petitioners (respondents 4 to 11 herein) had challenged the selection process for filling up of 34 posts of Additional District Judges through Limited Competitive Examination scheduled on 31 st August 2008; and also 18 posts of Additional District Judges from the promotee officers on the basis of merit-cum-seniority scheduled on 23rd August 2008. The writ petitioners (respondents 4 to 11 herein) were appointed purely against temporary and ex-cadre posts on ad-hoc basis, as Presiding Officer, Fast Track Courts in the rank of Additional District & Sessions Judge in the year 2002. According to the said writ petitioners, the impugned selection process was improper and not in conformity with the mandate of the amended Rules requiring ratio of 50:25:25 - by promotion from amongst the Sub-Judges on the basis of merit-cum-seniority and passing of a suitability test; by promotion (by way of selection) strictly on the basis of merit through a Limited Competitive Examination of Sub-Judges having not less than 5 years service; and by direct recruitment from the Bar on the basis of written test and viva-voce conducted by the High Court, respectively. The said writ petitioners asserted that if the impugned selection process was allowed to be taken forward, it would be in breach of the relevant Recruitment Rules and also infringe the mandate of adhering to the roster as per Rule 8 of the amended Rules. The main contention of the said writ petitioners was that the High Court was erroneously linking the ratio of posts to fill up the vacancies by giving retrospective effect to the amended Rules, which has come into force w.e.f. 20 th August 2004. The challenge before the High Court in the writ petition, as has been noted in the opening para 1 of the impugned judgment was limited to the quota assigned for the Limited Competitive Examination from amongst the (Subordinate Judge/Civil Judge (Senior Division) scheduled to be held on 31 st August 2008. The High Court in paragraph 4 of the impugned judgment has noted that the challenge is only to the extent of 42 posts of Additional District Judges which had to be filled up by following the roster system in the ratio of 25:25. Those posts were required to be bifurcated equally between the promotees from the rank of Subordinate Judges by conducting Limited Competitive Examination and direct recruits from the Bar in the ratio of 25:25. In paragraph 10 onwards of the impugned judgment, the High Court upheld the plea of the said writ petitioners and issued directions to the High Court to fill up the vacancies, as directed. The relevant portion of the impugned judgment reads thus: "10. Having heard the counsel for the parties at some length in the light of the explanation in regard to the bifurcation of the posts as per roster system to be followed in pursuance to the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service Rules, which was amended in view of the directions of the Supreme Court, we are of the view that 50% of the posts having already been filled up by the promotes on the basis of the merit-cum-seniority due to which 41 posts were filled up, the left over 42 posts have to be bifurcated into 25% and 25% meaning thereby 21 posts will have to be assigned to be filled up by promotion from the Subordinate Judges/Civil Judge (Senior Division) on the basis of Limited Competitive Examination and left over 21 posts which constitute 25% of the available posts will have to be filled up by the direct recruits as that is the clear mandate of the Supreme Court in the case referred to hereinbefore in pursuance to which the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service Rules, was also amended in 2001 and became effective in 2004. In fact, the petitioners have informed this Court that the respondents have not only invited the applications for all the 42 posts to be filled up by the Subordinate Judges on the basis of Limited Competitive Examination, but even the posts that might be available in the year 2009 have also been included in the advertisement, which is clearly not in consonance with the direction of the Supreme Court and is also contrary to the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service Rules, 2001. 11. Hence, this court is left which no option, than to set aside the examination process, which is scheduled to be held on 31.08.2008 and further direct the respondents to bifurcate the left over posts into the ratio of half and half, i.e. 25% and 25% equally and thereafter issued a fresh advertisement for filling up 21 posts by the Subordinate Judges on the basis of Limited Competitive Examination and the rest 21 posts will have to be filled up by direct recruits for which exercise will have to be undertaken in future by the respondents. 12. As no other point has been pressed in this writ petition and the only dispute that has been raised is in record to bifurcation of posts contrary to the roster principle, referred hereinbefore, and the same having been found to be correct, the notification issued on the internet for filling up the posts of Additional District Judges is quashed and set aside. Consequently, the process of examination to be held on 31.8.2008 is also set aside. The writ petition, accordingly, is allowed, but without any order as to costs." ;


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