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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The writ petitioners cannot be heard to claim relief on the basis of the subsequent selection process commenced pursuant to the notification dated 22nd February 2013. The High Court was not expected to fill the vacancies over and above the vacancies advertised for selection process of 2010. Moreover, since the writ petitioners have participated in the earlier selection process of 2010 and not in the subsequent selection process conducted on the basis of Notification dated 22nd February 2013 for the year 2012, they cannot be given any relief. - 2016 Nov. ROY & ORS. Vs. STATE OF JHARKHAND & ORS.


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                         CIVIL APPEAL No. 10874/2016
                 (arising out of S.L.P.(Civil) No.9883/2009)

Srikant Roy & Ors.                                       …..Appellants


State of Jharkhand & Ors.                         …..Respondents

WITH W.P.(C) No.300/2013, W.P.(C)No.27/2014 & W.P.(C)No.325/2014

                             J U D G M E N T


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 31st 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. 20th 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  31st  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

“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.”

4.    The  appellants,  who  were  working  as  Subordinate  Judges  at  the
relevant  time  and  were  otherwise  eligible  to  appear  in  the  Limited
Competitive Examination for filling up the  notified  vacancies  by  way  of
promotion, have approached this Court to question the aforesaid decision.

5.     The  cognate  Writ  Petitions   involve   overlapping   issues.   The
petitioners in these Writ Petitions, however, participated in the  selection
process of 2010 commenced on the basis of an advertisement  No.  1/2010  for
the post of Additional District Judge from the Bar.  These  petitioners  did
not succeed in getting appointed, as the first 8  candidates  in  the  merit
list exhausted the 8 vacancies notified for the relevant  period.  The  said
writ petitioners were, however, placed at serial No.9 onwards in  the  merit
list. According to these petitioners, some more  posts  were  available  for
direct recruits from the Bar. That contention, essentially, is dependent  on
the outcome of Civil Appeal arising out of Special  Leave  Petition  (Civil)
No.9883/2009 wherein the selection process of 2008 is  the  subject  matter.
According to these writ petitioners, the High Court  had  failed  to  notify
the correct number of vacancies for 2010. The correct  number  of  vacancies
in 2010 to be filled up by direct recruitment ought to be  13.  Indeed,  the
writ petitioners have made their own assumption to arrive at this number  of
vacancies, as is spelt out from the averments in the Writ Petition.

6.    The Registrar General of the High Court has  filed  reply  affidavits.
The stand of the High Court (Administration Side) was that  no  vacancy  for
direct recruit from the Bar existed as on 20.04.2008. It is stated  that  in
the year 2008, the actual vacancy as on 30th  April,  2008  and  anticipated
vacancy till 31st March 2009 were notified on the official  Website  of  the
High Court. The said Notification reads thus:

“Actual and anticipated Vacancy in the cadre of Jharkhand Superior  Judicial

|Actual Vacancy as on 30.04.2008                  |Anticipated Vacancy till|
|                                                 |31.03.2009              |
|By Promotion from       |Promotion (by way of    |By promotion from       |
|Sub-Judges on basis of  |Selection) through      |Sub-Judges on basis of  |
|merit-cum-seniority     |limited competitive     |merit-cum-seniority     |
|                        |examination             |                        |
|             18         |             34         |             11         |

Note: In the event of issuance  of  notification  by  the  State  Government
regarding induction of 10 Adhoc A.D.Js. of the  Fast  Track  Courts  in  the
Jharkhand Superior Judicial  Service  on  regular  basis,  in  view  of  the
recommendation of the Court  made  vide  letter  Nos.6949/Apptt.  Dated  3rd
November 2007 and 2819/Apptt. Dated 11.04.2008, the actual vacancies  as  on
30.04.2009 in the Promotee Quota shall be reduced to 08.”

After initiation  of  the  impugned  selection  process  for  2008,  a  Writ
Petition No.4159/2008 was filed in the High Court in which  directions  were
issued to the High Court to fill up 21 vacancies  out  of  42  vacancies  by
promotion  of  Subordinate  Judges  on  the  basis  of  Limited  Competitive
Examination and the rest of 21 vacancies by direct recruitment.  The  matter
was, therefore, referred  to  the  selection  committee.  In  the  meantime,
however, the Judicial Officers challenged the decision of the High Court  by
way of present S.L.P.  (Civil)  No.  9883/2009  in  which  interim  stay  of
operation of the directions issued by the High  Court  was  granted  on  9th
April, 2009. The said interim order was later  modified  on  24th  September
2010, in the following terms:

            “List alongwith the batch of T.C.22 of 2001.
      Since the matter has been pending at the  stage  of  advertisement  of
2008, we modify the order passed by the previous  Bench  dated  9.4.2009  by
directing the process, pursuant to the advertisement of  2008,  to  continue
pending the hearing and final  disposal  of  this  Special  Leave  Petition.
However, on completion of the exercise, vacancies will not  be  filled  till
further orders.”
Pursuant to the modification of the interim order, the High Court  completed
the selection process of filling up of the notified  vacancies  of  2008  by
way of promotion. On a further application filed, this Court on  5th  August
2011 permitted the High Court  to  make  appointments  concerning  the  said
selection process of 2008. The said order reads thus:

            “In modification of our order dated  24th  September  2010,  the
High Court is free to  make  appointments  subject  to  the  result  of  the
special leave petition.

            The Interlocutory Application is, accordingly, allowed.”

Pursuant to the liberty given  by  this  Court,  the  High  Court  submitted
recommendations to the State Government for promotion of 31 Officers of Sub-
Judge Cadre as  per  the  advertisement  issued  in  2008  to  fill  up  the
vacancies in terms of Rule 4(b) and 4(c). The High Court  submitted  another
recommendation to the State Government for promotion of 17 more Officers.

7.    It is then asserted by the High Court that when the selection  process
of 2008 was commenced  and  completed,  there  was  no  vacancy  for  direct
recruit quota. The affidavit also refers to the fact  that  8  vacancies  of
direct quota were notified in the  year  2010  vide  High  Court  memorandum
dated 4th November 2010 for the relevant period, which reads thus:

“Actual vacancies in the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service accrued  during
the period from 18.07.2008 till date

|By Promotion from |Promotion (by way |By direct         |Total Vacancies   |
|Sub-Judges on     |of Selection)     |recruitment from  |                  |
|basis of          |through limited   |Bar               |                  |
|merit-cum-seniorit|competitive       |                  |                  |
|y                 |Examination       |                  |                  |
|28                |08 or 09          |07 or 08          |44                |

Memo 7671/Apptt. Dated Ranchi the 4th November, 2010

Copy forwarded to Scientist (D), N.I.C., Jharkhand High Court Ranchi.

      He is requested to put  the    aforesaid  vacancies  in  the  official
website of the Jharkhand High Court, Ranchi.”

      The High Court with a view to fill up those vacancies,  commenced  the
process vide advertisement No.01/2010. Pursuant to the  said  advertisement,
the writ petitioners  in  the  connected  writ  petitions  appeared  in  the
preliminary  examination  held  on  29th  September  2011   and   the   main
examination held on 27th November 2011 along with other candidates. Only  32
candidates could qualify the main examination, who  were  called  for  viva-
voce held on 3rd February 2012. Out of those candidates, only 15  candidates
including the writ petitioners in the connected writ petitions  successfully
qualified all the three rounds. However, as  per  the  merit  wise  rank  of
successful candidates, the names of the said writ  petitioners  were  placed
at  lower  position.  Thus,  the  first  8   meritorious   candidates   were
recommended for appointment against the vacant posts to  be  filled  by  the
process of direct recruitment. It is also mentioned in  the  affidavit  that
the appointment of the candidates made against  the  selection  process  for
2008, the candidates were made aware that their appointment was  subject  to
the final decision of this Court in SLP (Civil) No. 9883/2009.

8.    It is asserted  by  the  High  Court  that  the  writ  petitioners  in
connected writ petitions,  who  participated  in  the  subsequent  selection
process cannot get any advantage qua the selection  process  of  2008.  For,
they participated in  the  selection  process  commenced  on  the  basis  of
advertisement No.1 of 2010. Similarly,  they  cannot  claim  any  relief  in
respect of  fresh  vacancy  which  was  notified  in  the  year  2012,  vide
Notification dated 22nd March, 2012. That notification reads thus:


      No. 102/A. The Vacancies of the Jharkhand  Superior  Judicial  Service
including the future vacancies till 31.12.2012 are hereby  notified  in  the
following manner:-

|By promotion from   |Promotion (by way of    |By direct recruitment |
|Civil Judge (Sr.    |selection) through      |from Bar (25%)- under |
|Division) on the    |limited competitive     |Rule 4(a) of Rules,   |
|basis of            |Examination (10%)- under|2001                  |
|merit-cum-seniority |Rule 4(c) of Rules, 2001|                      |
|(65%)- under Rule   |                        |                      |
|4(b) of Rules, 2001 |                        |                      |
|57+7=64             |Nil                     |5 (+8*)               |

It is made clear that appointment over the aforesaid 69  notified  vacancies
will also be subject to final decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court  in  the
Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 9883/2009.

Also,  all  the  earlier  advertised  vacancies  are  hereby  recalled   and
restructured in the above manner.

      *Note:- The recommendation for filling up of 08  vacancies  of  Direct
Recruit Quota has already been made to the State Government for issuance  of
necessary Notification vide Letter  No.  1959/Apptt.  Dated  10.02.2012  and
thus the vacancy under this Quota till 31.12.2012 remains 05(five).

Dated: 22nd March, 2012

By Order,
                                        Registrar General”
      The vacancy position as on 31st December 2012  was  revised  and  duly
notified vide Notification dated 19th September 2012, which reads thus:
                      “JHARKHAND HIGH COURT, RANCHI


No.275/A The Vacancies position of the Jharkhand Superior  Judicial  Service
till 31.12.2012 as notified vide  Notification  No.102/A  dated  22nd  March
2012 is revised and notified in the following manner:-

|By promotion from Civil |Promotion (by way of    |By direct recruitment   |
|Judge (Sr.Division) on  |selection) through      |from Bar (25%)- under   |
|the basis of            |limited competitive     |Rule 4(a) of rules 2001 |
|merit-cum-seniority     |examination (10%)-under |                        |
|(65%) – under Rule 4 (b)|Rule 4(c) of rules, 2001|                        |
|of rules, 2001          |                        |                        |
|              68*       |             Nil        |              08        |
|                        |                        |                        |

      It  is  made  clear  that  appointment  over  the  aforesaid  notified
vacancies will subject to final decision of the  Hon’ble  Supreme  Court  in
the Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No.9883/2009.

Note: In the event of the  issuance  of  Notification  by  the  State  Govt.
regarding Promotion of 28 Officers of the rank of Civil Judge  (Sr.Division)
in the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service in view of recommendation of  the
Court as made vide letter no.9593/Apptt. Dated 17th July  2012,  the  actual
vacancy as on 31.12.2012 under this quota [i.e. under Rule  4(b)]  shall  be
reduced to 40.

                                                   By Order
                                             Registrar General

Dated: 19th September, 2012”

9.    It is stated that the vacancy position as on 31st  December  2012  was
notified on the basis of the sanctioned strength  of  174  at  the  relevant
time. That sanctioned strength was later on increased to 191 on creation  of
17 permanent posts of Superior Officers  @  10%  of  existing  strength.  In
paragraph 20 of the reply affidavit, the vacancy position as  calculated  on
the basis of amended Rules (as amended  on  14th  December  2011)  has  been
mentioned as follows:
|Sanctioned     |By promotion from   |Promotion (by way |By direct         |
|strength       |Civil               |of selection      |recruitment from  |
|               |Judge(Sr.Div.)on the|through limited   |Bar               |
|               |basis of            |competitive       |                  |
|               |merit-cum-seniority |examination       |(25%)-Rule 4(a)   |
|               |(65%)-Rule 4(b)     |(10%)-Rule 4(C)   |                  |
|Sanctioned     |         124        |         19       |         48       |
|Strength-191   |                    |                  |                  |
|Present working|          68        |      20(-1*)     |         36       |
|strength-124   |                    |                  |                  |
|Present        |     56-1*=55       |         Nil      |          12      |
|vacancies      |(*excess adjusted)  |                  |                  |

10.   It is then stated that pursuant to  the  decision  of  this  Court  in
Civil Appeal Nos.6647-6649/2012 (filed  by  officers  posted  as  Additional
District Judges, Fast Track Courts), vide letter dated  20th  February  2013
the  State  Government  was  requested  to  create  13  permanent  posts  to
accommodate the 22 appellants in the said Civil Appeals  on  condition  that
in the event of non qualifying of any of the  appellants  in  the  selection
process to be conducted in terms of the direction given  by  this  Court  in
the said decision, the equal number of such created posts of District  Judge
will be abolished. After due consideration,  the  vacancy  position  of  the
Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service was  notified  vide  Notification  dated
22nd February 2013 which reads thus:


No.45/A. The Vacancies position of the Jharkhand Superior  Judicial  Service
as notified earlier vide Notification No.275/A dated  19th  September,  2012
is hereby recalled and further revised till date in the following manner:-

|By promotion from Civil |Promotion (by way of    |By direct recruitment   |
|Judge (Sr.Division)on   |selection) through      |from Bar (25%)-under    |
|the basis of            |limited competitive     |Rule 4(a) of rules, 2001|
|merit-cum-seniority     |examination (10%)-under |                        |
|(65%)-under Rule 4(b) of|Rule 4(c) of Rules, 2001|                        |
|rules,2001              |                        |                        |
|             55         |           Nil          |       22*+03^=25       |

      It  is  made  clear  that  appointment  over  the  aforesaid  notified
vacancies will be subject to final decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court  in
the Special Leave Petition(Civil) No.9883/2009.

Note:- 1* 22 Vacancies for the appellants of Civil  Appeal  Nos.6647,6648  &
6649 of 2012.

2.^03 Vacancies for Direct Recruitment from Bar.

3. Taking into account the 13 posts likely to be created  from  the  end  of
the State Government.

                                                   By Order
                                        Registrar General I/C

Dated: 22nd February, 2013

Memo No.1644/Apptt.Dated Ranchi, the 22nd February, 2013

        Copy forwarded to the I/c NIC Cell, High Court of Jharkhand,  Ranchi
for uploading  the  above  notification  in  the  official  website  of  the
Jharkhand High Court, Ranchi immediately.

                                                Registrar General I/c”

11.   It is also pointed out that the Standing Committee of the  High  Court
vide minutes dated 18th February 2014 assessed the vacancy  position  as  on
20th February 2014 as under:

|      |                          |Sanctioned |Working       |Vacancy as  |
|Sl.No.|                          |Strength   |Strength as on|on          |
|      |                          |           |20.02.2014    |20.02.2014  |
|   1  |By promotion from Civil   |     134   |      60      |      74*   |
|      |Judge 9Sr.Division) on the|           |              |(74-4*)=70  |
|      |basis of                  |           |              |            |
|      |merit-cum-seniority       |           |              |            |
|      |(65%)-under Rule 4(b) of  |           |              |            |
|      |rules, 2001               |           |              |            |
|2     |Promotion(by way of       |    21     |     17       |      4     |
|      |selection)through limited |           |              |            |
|      |competitive               |           |              |            |
|      |examination(10%)-under    |           |              |            |
|      |Rule 4(c) of Rules, 2001  |           |              |            |
|3     |By direct recruitment from|      51   |       55     | Excess 4*  |
|      |Bar (25%)-under Rule 4(a) |           |              |((excess may|
|      |of Rules,2001             |           |              |be adjusted)|

In other affidavits filed on behalf of  the  High  Court  by  the  Registrar
General, the above factual position has been reiterated.

12.   We have heard the learned counsel  for  the  parties  at  length.  The
leading appeal concerns the selection process commenced in  2008.  The  High
Court has set aside the said selection process on the finding  that  50%  of
the posts have already been filled up by  the  promotees  on  the  basis  of
merit-cum-seniority and as a result of which  the  left  over  42  vacancies
should be  filled  by  promotion  from  the  subordinate  Judge/Civil  Judge
(Senior Division) on the basis of Limited  Competitive  Examination  and  by
the direct recruits in equal proportion.  There  can  be  no  difficulty  in
accepting the argument that the amended Rules providing for the ratio to  be
maintained between the promotees and direct  recruits  became  effective  on
20th  August  2004  and  had  prospective  application.  Thus,  the  factual
position as obtained on 20th August 2004 would become relevant.

13. Rules 4 and 5 read with Rule 8, as it existed prior to the amendment  of
20.08.2004 read thus:

“Rule -4: - Appointment to the service- Appointment to  the  service,  which
shall in the  first  instance  ordinarily  be  to  the  post  of  additional
district judge, shall be made by the governor,  in  consultation  with  High

 By direct recruitment of persons as recommended by the High Court for  such
appointment under clause (2) of Article 233 of the  Constitution  of  India;

 By  promotion  on  merit-cum-seniority  basis  from  amongst  the  officers
belonging to the Jharkhand service provided that  where  the  merit  of  the
officers is equal in all respects, seniority  shall  prevail  and  be  given

Rule-5:     Of the total posts in the cadre of  the  service  67%  shall  be
filled in by promotion and 33% by direct recruitment:

Provided that the State  Government  may,  in  consultation  with  the  High
Court, from time to time deviate from the  aforesaid  percentage  in  either

Rule 8:-    8. Seniority:

Seniority inter se of direct recruits  shall  be  determined  in  accordance
with the dates of their respective appointments to the service.

Seniority inter se of promoted officers shall be determined on the basis  of
their seniority as existing in the Jharkhand  Judicial  service  immediately
prior to his appointment under these rules.

 If at any time more than one direct recruit is appointed  in  the  service,
the inter se seniority of such appointees will be determined  in  accordance
with the order of merit as obtaining in the select list at the time  of  his

  Seniority  of  direct  recruits  vis-à-vis  promoted  officers  shall   be
determined with reference to the dates on which  his  appointments  actually
are made:

Provided, however,  when  a  direct  recruit  and  a  promoted  officer  are
appointed on the same date, the promoted officer shall rank  senior  to  the
direct recruit.”

14.   Resultantly, appointments made prior to  2004  were  governed  by  the
Rules as applicable at the relevant time.  As  per  that  dispensation,  the
direct recruits quota was 33% of the total posts.   That  was  obviously  in
excess of 25% now specified in the amended Rules (as amended  on  20.08.2004
pursuant to the decision of this Court). Notably,  the  State  of  Jharkhand
had filed an affidavit in C.A.No.1867/2006 before this  Court  in  which  it
has been stated that no vacancy against 25%  quota  for  direct  recruitment
existed in the State of Jharkhand at that time. This affidavit was filed  on
26th August 2008 after the amended Rules were notified and came  into  force
w.e.f. 20th August 2004. Thus, notification for filling up of  34  posts  of
Additional District  Judge  through  Limited  Competitive  Examination  from
amongst the members of Jharkhand  Subordinate  Judges  having  more  than  5
years of experience and 18 posts from merit-cum-seniority basis amongst  the
Civil Judge (Senior Division), was issued in  2008  on  the  basis  that  no
vacancy against the posts of  direct  recruit  quota  was  available.   That
stand is reiterated even now in the affidavit filed by the High  Court.  The
High Court in the impugned judgment has  committed  manifest  error  in  not
considering these relevant facts about the vacant posts for direct  recruits
as on 20.08.2004 - before recording a finding against  the  High  Court  and
the State Government and to reject their stand that no vacancy  against  the
quota of direct recruit was available as on 30.04.2008.

15.   Indeed, the High Court in the impugned judgment has  adverted  to  the
decision of this Court in All India Judges’ Association & Ors. Vs  Union  of
India & Ors.[1]  which has enunciated the principle of roster and the  ratio
to be followed for  the post of Additional  District  Judge.   Indisputably,
pursuant to the decision of this Court the Rules were  amended,  which  came
into effect from 20th August 2004.  In  paragraph  27  to  29  of  the  said
decision, this Court has considered the question  regarding  the  method  of
recruitment to the post  in  the  cadre  of  Higher  Judicial  Service  i.e.
District Judges and Additional District Judges. The same reads thus:

“27. Another question  which  falls  for  consideration  is  the  method  of
recruitment to the posts in  the  cadre  of  Higher  Judicial  Service  i.e.
District Judges and Additional  District  Judges.  At  the  present  moment,
there are two sources  for  recruitment  to  the  Higher  Judicial  Service,
namely, by promotion from amongst the members of  the  Subordinate  Judicial
Service  and  by  direct  recruitment.  The  subordinate  judiciary  is  the
foundation of  the  edifice  of  the  judicial  system.  It  is,  therefore,
imperative, like any other foundation, that it should become  as  strong  as
possible. The weight  on  the  judicial  system  essentially  rests  on  the
subordinate judiciary. While we have  accepted  the  recommendation  of  the
Shetty Commission which will result in the increase in  the  pay  scales  of
the subordinate judiciary, it  is  at  the  same  time  necessary  that  the
judicial officers, hard-working as they are, become more  efficient.  It  is
imperative that they keep  abreast  of  knowledge  of  law  and  the  latest
pronouncements, and it is for this reason that  the  Shetty  Commission  has
recommended  the  establishment  of  a  Judicial  Academy,  which  is   very
necessary. At the same time, we are of the opinion  that  there  has  to  be
certain minimum standard, objectively adjudged,  for  officers  who  are  to
enter  the  Higher  Judicial  Service  as  Additional  District  Judges  and
District Judges.  While  we  agree  with  the  Shetty  Commission  that  the
recruitment to the Higher Judicial Service i.e.  the  District  Judge  cadre
from amongst the advocates  should  be  25  per  cent  and  the  process  of
recruitment is to be by a competitive examination,  both  written  and  viva
voce, we are of the opinion that there should  be  an  objective  method  of
testing the suitability of the subordinate judicial officers  for  promotion
to the Higher  Judicial  Service.  Furthermore,  there  should  also  be  an
incentive amongst the relatively junior and other officers  to  improve  and
to compete with each other so as to excel  and  get  quicker  promotion.  In
this way, we expect that the calibre of the members of the  Higher  Judicial
Service will further improve. In order to achieve this, while the  ratio  of
75 per cent appointment by promotion and 25 per cent by  direct  recruitment
to the Higher Judicial Service  is  maintained,  we  are,  however,  of  the
opinion that there should be two methods as far as appointment by  promotion
is concerned: 50 per cent of the total posts in the Higher Judicial  Service
must be filled  by  promotion  on  the  basis  of  principle  of  merit-cum-
seniority. For this purpose, the High Courts  should  devise  and  evolve  a
test in order  to  ascertain  and  examine  the  legal  knowledge  of  those
candidates and to assess their continued efficiency with adequate  knowledge
of case-law. The remaining 25 per cent of the posts in the service shall  be
filled by promotion strictly on the  basis  of  merit  through  the  limited
departmental competitive examination for which the qualifying service  as  a
Civil Judge (Senior Division) should be not less than five years.  The  High
Courts will have to frame a rule in this regard.

28.  As  a  result  of  the  aforesaid,  to  recapitulate,  we  direct  that
recruitment to the Higher  Judicial  Service  i.e.  the  cadre  of  District
Judges will be:
(1)(a) 50 per cent by  promotion  from  amongst  the  Civil  Judges  (Senior
Division) on the basis of principle of  merit-cum-seniority  and  passing  a
suitability test;
(b) 25 per cent by promotion strictly on the basis of merit through  limited
competitive examination of Civil Judges (Senior Division)  having  not  less
than five years’ qualifying service; and
(c) 25 per cent of the posts shall be  filled  by  direct  recruitment  from
amongst the eligible advocates on the basis of the  written  and  viva  voce
test conducted by respective High Courts.
(2) Appropriate rules shall be framed as above by the High Courts  as  early
as possible.

29. Experience has shown that  there  has  been  a  constant  discontentment
amongst the members of the  Higher  Judicial  Service  in  regard  to  their
seniority in service. For over three decades a large number  of  cases  have
been instituted in order to decide the relative seniority from the  officers
recruited from the two  different  sources,  namely,  promotees  and  direct
recruits. As a result of the decision today, there will, in a way, be  three
ways of recruitment to the Higher Judicial Service. The quota for  promotion
which we have prescribed is 50 per cent by following the  principle  “merit-
cum-seniority”, 25 per  cent  strictly  on  merit  by  limited  departmental
competitive examination and 25 per cent by  direct  recruitment.  Experience
has also shown that the least amount of litigation  in  the  country,  where
quota system in recruitment exists, insofar as seniority  is  concerned,  is
where a roster system is followed. For example, there is, as per  the  rules
of the Central Government, a  40-point  roster  which  has  been  prescribed
which deals with the quotas  for  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes.
Hardly, if ever, there has been a litigation  amongst  the  members  of  the
service after their recruitment as per the quotas, the  seniority  is  fixed
by the roster points and irrespective of the fact as to  when  a  person  is
recruited. When roster system is followed,  there  is  no  question  of  any
dispute arising. The 40-point roster has been  considered  and  approved  by
this Court in R.K. Sabharwal v. State of Punjab3.  One  of  the  methods  of
avoiding any litigation and bringing about certainty in this  regard  is  by
specifying  quotas  in  relation  to  posts  and  not  in  relation  to  the
vacancies. This is the basic principle on the basis of  which  the  40-point
roster works. We direct the High Courts to  suitably  amend  and  promulgate
seniority rules on the basis of the roster principle  as  approved  by  this
Court in R.K. Sabharwal case3 as early  as  possible.  We  hope  that  as  a
result thereof there  would  be  no  further  dispute  in  the  fixation  of
seniority. It is obvious that  this  system  can  only  apply  prospectively
except where under the relevant rules seniority is to be determined  on  the
basis of quota and rotational system. The  existing  relative  seniority  of
the members of the Higher Judicial Service  has  to  be  protected  but  the
roster has to be evolved for the future. Appropriate rules and methods  will
be adopted  by  the  High  Courts  and  approved  by  the  States,  wherever
necessary by 31-3-2003.”
                                                         (emphasis supplied)

 16.  Once it is found that no post against the quota of direct  recruitment
was available as on 30th April,  2008,  no  fault  can  be  found  with  the
selection process commenced by the High Court for appointment in  the  cadre
of Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service by promotion on the  basis  of  merit
through Limited Competitive Examination. The  High  Court  in  the  impugned
judgment has glossed over the effect of filling  up  the  vacancies  in  the
ratio of 25:25, which inevitably will exceed the quota of posts  for  direct
recruits as on 30.04.2008. That  would  disturb  the  roster  point  and  is
impermissible in  terms  of  Rule  8  as  amended.  The  notification  dated
20.08.2004 amending Rule 5 and 8 reads thus:

                          “Government of Jharkhand

        Department of Personnel, Administrative Reforms and Rajbhasha


                                                      Ranchi Date 20.08.2004

No. 6/Estab Jud 610/2001 Perso. 4544/after repealing existing Rule 5   7   8
(d) of Jharkhand Superior Judicial Services  (recruitment,  Appointment  and
conditions of Services) Rules 2001 of  Departmental  Notification  No.  1246
dated 08.05.2001, Rule 5 and 8(d) are substituted as follows:-

Rule 5:     Of the total post in the cadre of service.

50% shall be filled by promotion from amongst the Sub Judges  on  the  basis
of merit-cum-seniority and passing a suitability test as may  from  time  to
time be prescribed by the High Court.

25% shall be filled in 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  also  having  due  regard  to  his
service record in the past.

25% shall be filled in by direct recruitment from the Bar on  the  basis  of
test and viva-voce conducted by the High Court.

8(d) The following roster shall be  maintained  after  appointment/promotion
to fix the seniority of the direct recruits vis-à-vis promote officer.   The
roster shall be as follows for every unit of 100 posts.

For promote officers from the service-


For promote officers form the limited competitive examination of Sub Judge,


For direct recruits-


                                                        By order of Governor

                                            (Shri Nitya Shankar Mukhopaddya)

                                                   Deputy Secretary of State

No. 6/Estab Jud 610/2001 Perso. 4544/after Ranchi Date 20.08.2004

Copy to- Superintendent, Government  press,  Doranda  Ranchi,  with  request
that be published in next edition of Jharkhand official Gazette.

                                                  Deputy Secretary of Govt,”

17.   The position as  it  stood  as  on  30th  April  2008,  is  stated  in
paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed by  the  High  Court  dated  30th  March,
2016, which reads thus:

“That it is stated that as on 30.04.2008, the  sanctioned  strength  of  the
Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service was 145 and  working  strength  was  93,
which is shown herein below:-

|  By Promotion from  |Promotion (By way of |By direct recruitment|
|Sub-Judges on the    |selection) through   |from Bar (25%)       |
|basis of             |limited competitive  |                     |
|merit-cum-seniority  |Examination (25%)    |                     |
|(50%)                |                     |                     |
|Sanctioned Strength - 145                                        |
|73                   |36                   |36                   |
|Working strength = 93                                            |
|55                   |00                   |38                   |
|Vacancies = 52                                                   |
|18                   |36-2=34              |02 (surplus)         |

18.   Considering the fact that no vacancy existed in the  quota  of  direct
recruit as on 30th August 2008, the writ petitioners (respondents  4  to  11
in the leading appeal), who could participate in the selection  process  for
direct  recruit  alone  and  not  by  way  of  promotion   through   Limited
Competitive Examination, had no locus to challenge the selection process  of

19.   The High Court has  overlooked  the  distinction  between  “post”  and
“vacancy”. If the requisite posts  were  already  exhausted  by  the  direct
recruits against the earmarked quota for direct recruitment, merely  because
some vacancies occur, it would  not  be  open  to  the  aspiring  candidates
against  the  direct  recruit  quota  to  challenge  the  selection  process
commenced for the in service judicial officers by promotion through  Limited
Competitive Examination. The  cadre  strength  is  always  measured  by  the
number of posts comprising the  cadre.   The  right  to  be  considered  for
appointment can only be claimed in respect of a post  in  the  given  cadre.
The percentage of quota has to be worked out in relation to number of  posts
which form the cadre and has no relevance to the vacancy that  would  occur.
This aspect has been  glossed  over  by  the  High  Court  in  the  impugned
judgment.  Suffice it to  observe  that  as  no  post  for  direct  recruits
existed as on 30th April, 2008, the challenge to the  selection  process  to
fill up the vacancy by promotion through  Limited  Competitive  Examination,
at the instance of aspiring  candidates  by  direct  recruitment  cannot  be
countenanced. The Writ Petition filed by  such  aspiring  candidates  (WP(S)
No. 4159/2008), therefore, ought to have been dismissed by the High Court.

20.   Having said this, it must follow that the selection  process  of  2008
which has been completed pursuant to the liberty given by this Court by  way
of interim order is proper and  has  become  final.  On  this  finding,  the
challenge  in  the  companion  Writ  Petitions  to  the  selection   process
commenced for the year 2010  does  not  merit  interference.  In  that,  the
vacancy position as on the date of  the  notification  (i.e.  4th  November,
2010), for commencing selection process in 2010, were only upto 8  vacancies
for appointment by direct  recruitment  from  the  Bar.  None  of  the  writ
petitioners before this Court claim to be within  the  first  8  merit  list
candidates. The petitioners were placed at serial No.9 onwards. The first  8
candidates having been appointed, the selection process for 2010  would  get
exhausted and considered as complete.  Merely because the names of the  writ
petitioners  appear  in  the  selection  list,  they  do  not  acquire   any
indefeasible right in getting appointed. The vacancies have to be filled  up
in conformity with the extant Regulations. The selection  process  in  which
the writ petitioners participated, was commenced on the basis of the  stated
notification for 8 notified vacancies and appointments  have  been  made  of
the meritorious candidates.  That  selection  process  must  be  treated  as
having come to an end.  The  fact  that  the  notifications  for  subsequent
selection  process  (commenced  after  2010),  issued  by  the  High   Court
notifying different or higher number of posts for  direct  recruitment,  can
be of no avail to the selection process of 2010. That  changed  position  is
ascribable to subsequent period on the basis of availability  of  posts  for
direct recruits. Not for selection process  of  2010.  Similarly,  the  fact
that  one  candidate  amongst  the  appointed  eight  candidates  after  due
selection  subsequently  resigned,  no  right  can  accrue   to   the   Writ
Petitioner(s) on completion of  the  selection  process  of  2010.  Reliance
placed on Rule 21 which requires preparation of select list  and  to  notify
the same or to remain valid for one year from the date  of  being  notified,
is also inapposite. That is not a Rule mandating preparation of a wait  list
of the selected candidates. No express provision for  retaining  the  select
list as wait list for one year has been brought to our notice. On the  other
hand, the effect of Rule 22 is that once the names of  candidates  from  the
notified select list are recommended to the Government proportionate to  the
vacancies available for  appointment;  and  recommended  candidates  are  so
appointed or on expiry of one year from notifying the select list  whichever
is earlier, the  select  list  would  become  ineffective  qua  the  subject
selection process. For, that selection process is concluded.   None  of  the
writ petitioners can, therefore, succeed in getting the  relief  claimed  by

21.   The decision in the case of Rakhi Ray & Ors. Vs. High Court  of  Delhi
and Ors.[2]  will be of no avail to the writ petitioners and  would  instead
support the view we have already  taken.  The  writ  petitioners  cannot  be
heard to claim relief on the  basis  of  the  subsequent  selection  process
commenced pursuant to the notification dated 22nd February  2013.  The  High
Court was not expected to fill the vacancies over and  above  the  vacancies
advertised  for  selection  process  of  2010.  Moreover,  since  the   writ
petitioners have participated in the earlier selection process of  2010  and
not  in  the  subsequent  selection  process  conducted  on  the  basis   of
Notification dated 22nd February 2013 for the  year  2012,  they  cannot  be
given any relief.

22.   Considering the above, the Civil Appeal must succeed and  is  allowed.
The impugned judgment and order of the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi  in
WP(S) No.4159/2008 dated 29th August 2008 is set aside and consequently  the
WP(S)  No.4159/2008  stands  dismissed.  Even  the  three   connected   Writ
Petitions bearing Nos.300/2013,27/2014 and 325/2014 deserve to be  dismissed
and are dismissed.  Accompanying, I.As are disposed of in the same terms.

23.   We order accordingly. No order as to costs.




New Delhi,
Dated:                  16th                 November,                  2016

[1]    (2002) 4 SCC 247
[2]    (2010) 2 SCC 637

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