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Monday, February 26, 2018

service matter = a practicing Advocate of Rajasthan High Court, questioning the Notification dated 12.05.2017 appointing respondent Nos.2 and 3 as Additional Judges of Rajasthan High Court. = It is a matter of common knowledge that most of the judicial officers get a chance for elevation when only few years’ service is left. Thus, when unduly long time is taken, even this lesser tenure gets further reduced. It also gives rise to the situation like the present one. Equally, members of the Bar, whose names are recommended for elevation to the High Court, undergo hardships of a different kind. It is unjust that the fate of such persons remains in limbo for indefinite periods and gives rise to unnecessary conjectural debates. = It leads to unpleasant situations which can be avoided. It is, therefore, in the interest of all the stakeholders, including the judiciary, that definite timelines are drawn for each stage of the process, so that process of appointment is accomplished within a time bound manner. We need not say more. It is more so, to keep hope and aspiration of litigants alive and to fulfil the commitment of providing a speedy justice the process of appointment of Judges of the High Court needs more expedition at the hands of all who have to discharge the constitutional obligation entrusted by the Constitution of India.

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (C) NO.835 OF 2017
SUNIL SAMDARIA ... PETITIONER
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA THROUGH ITS
SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF LAW AND
JUSTICE AND OTHERS         ... RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.
This   writ   petition   under   Article   32   of   the
Constitution of India has been filed by the petitioner,
a   practicing   Advocate   of   Rajasthan   High   Court,
questioning   the   Notification   dated   12.05.2017
appointing respondent Nos.2 and 3 as Additional Judges
of Rajasthan High Court. This Court on 03.10.2017 had
issued   notice   to   respondent   No.1   only.   A   counteraffidavit
  has   been   filed   by   the   Union   of   Indiarespondent
No.1.
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2. We have heard the petitioner, appearing in­person
and   Shri   Maninder   Singh,   learned   Additional   Solicitor
General of India for the respondent.
3. The petitioner appearing in­person challenging the
appointment   of   respondent   Nos.2   and   3   as   Additional
Judges   of   Rajasthan   High   Court   makes   following   two
submissions:
(1) The appointment of respondent Nos.2 and 3 has
been   made   as   Additional   Judges   of   the   Rajasthan
High Court under Article 224 of the Constitution of
India. The appointment of respondent No.2 has been
made   till   Ist   September,   2018   whereas   the
appointment of respondent No.3 has been made till
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nd  July,   2018,   both   the   appointments   having   been
made for a period of less than two years violates
Article   224   of   the   Constitution   of   India.   It   is
submitted   that   appointment   of   Additional   Judges
should not be made for a period of less than two
years, hence the appointments are non­est and void.
Reliance has been placed on Constitution Bench
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judgment of this Court in  S.P.Gupta vs. Union of
India and another, 1981 Supp SCC 87.
(2) Respondent   Nos.2   and   3   were   members   of
Judicial   Service   of   the   State   of   Rajasthan   who
retired   from   the   post   of   District   Judge
respectively   on   30.09.2016   and   31.07.2016   after
attaining   the   age   of   superannuation   of   60   years.
On   the   day   when   the   notification   was   issued
appointing   respondent   Nos.2   and   3,   i.e.,
12.05.2017,   both   being   not   holding   a   Judicial
Office   they   were   not   eligible   for   appointment   as
Additional   Judges   of   the   High   Court.   The
eligibility of a person to be appointed as a Judge
of the High Court as provided under Article 217(2)
(a) is that he should be a member of the Judicial
Service   of   the   State.   Respondent   Nos.2   and   3,
having long retired from Judicial Service, do not
possess   eligibility   for   appointment   as   Additional
Judges of the High Court hence on this ground also
the   appointments   of   respondent   Nos.2   and   3   are
liable     to   be   declared   as   non­est   and   void.
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Petitioner placed reliance on the judgment of this
Court in Shri Kumar Padma Prasad vs. Union of India
others, 1992 (2) SCC 428 (paragraphs 25, 35, 41).
4. Shri   Maninder   Singh,   learned   Additional   Solicitor
General   of   India   refuting   the   submission   of   the
petitioner   contends   that   appointments   of   respondent
Nos.2 and 3 are fully in accordance with Article 217(2)
and   Article   224   of   the   Constitution   of   India.
Respondent Nos.2 and 3 having held Judicial Office for
a   period   of   10   years   were   fully   eligible   to   be
appointed   as   Additional   Judges   of   the   Rajasthan   High
Court. The maximum period of appointment of Additional
Judge   of   the   High   Court  under   Article   224   clause   (1)
being   two   years,   respondent   Nos.2   and   3   who   were
attaining the age of superannuation of 62 years before
expiry of a period of two years, there is no illegality
in   their   appointment   upto   the   age   of   superannuation
which falls on 01.09.2018 and 02.07.2018 respectively.
The judgment of this Court in   Shri Kumar Padma Prasad
(supra)  is   not   applicable   nor   the   Constitution   Bench
judgment in  S.P. Gupta (supra)  supports the contention
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advanced by the petitioner in the present case.
5. We   have   considered   the   submissions   of   the
petitioner in­person and   learned Additional Solicitor
General for the Union of India and perused the record.
6. The   relevant   facts   pertaining   to   the   Judicial
Service,   the   process   of   appointment   as   Additional
Judges   of   the   Rajasthan  High   Court   and   the   period   of
their tenure are not in dispute. Both respondent Nos.2
and   3   were   members   of   Judicial   Service   of   the   State
when their names were recommended by the Acting Chief
Justice   of   Rajasthan   High   Court   by   letter   dated
18.02.2016. On the  date their names were recommended,
they   were   fully   in   the   zone   of   consideration,   they
being within the prescribed age limit of 58 ½ years on
the date of occurrence of vacancy against which their
names were recommended.  The Acting Chief Justice while
processing   the   recommendation   followed   Memorandum   of
Procedure   as   laid   down   by   letter   dated   24.09.2004   of
Minister of Law and Justice. The Government of India,
Ministry   of   Law   and   Justice,   after   processing   the
recommendation forwarded the same for consideration of
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Chief Justice of India on 22.07.2016. The Supreme Court
Collegium vide its Minutes dated 01.08.2016 recommended
the names of respondent Nos.2 and 3 as from the service
stream.   The   Government   of   India   after   receiving   the
recommendation   of   Supreme   Court   Collegium   and   after
obtaining   the   approval   of   Hon'ble   President   of   India
notified   the   appointment   on   12.05.2017.   The   entire
process consumed a period of one year and three months.
The notification dated 12.05.2017 which was issued for
appointment   of   respondent   Nos.2   and   3   as   Additional
Judges   in   exercise   of   power   under   Article   224(1)
mentioned their appointment with  effect from  the date
they   took   charge   till   01.09.2018   and   02.07.2018
respectively. The dates 01.09.2018 and 02.07.2018 which
are   mentioned   in   the   notification   are   obviously   the
dates when they shall attain the age of superannuation
as   Judges   of   the   High   Court,   i.e.,   62   years.   It   is
relevant to note that along with respondent Nos.2 and 3
three more persons were appointed as Additional Judges
for   a   period   of   two   years   and   with   regard   to   their
tenure   the   period   of   two   years   was   mentioned.   It   is
relevant to extract notification dated 12.05.2017 which
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is to the following effect:
“NOTIFICATION
In   exercise   of   the   powers   conferred   by
Clause(1)   of   Article   224   of   the
Constitution   of   India,   the   President   is
pleased to appoint S/Shri(i) Ashok Kumar
Gaur,   (ii)   Manoj   Kumar   Garg,   (iii)
Inderjeet   Singh,   (iv)   Dr.Virendra   Kumar
Mathur,   and   (V)   Shri   Ramchandra   Singh
Jhala,   to   be   Additional   Judges   of
Rajasthan   High   Court,   in   that   order   of
seniority.
The   appointment   of   S/Shri   Ashok   Kumar
Gaur, Manoj Kumar Garg, Inderjeet Singh,
would   be   for   a   period   of   2   years   with
effect from the date they assume charge
of   their   respective   offices.   However,
period of appointment in respect of Dr.
Virendra Kumar Mathur, and Sh. Ramchandra
Singh Jhala are with effect from the date
they   assume   charge   of   their   respective
offices   till   1st  September,   2018   and   2nd
July, 2018 respectively.
Sd/­
                            (S.C.BARMMA)
Joint Secretary to the Government of India
             Tele:23072142“
7. The first submission which has been pressed by the
petitioner is that appointment of respondent Nos.2 and
3 being for a period of less than two years is contrary
to Article 224 of the Constitution of India and in the
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teeth of law laid down by S.P. Gupta (supra).
8. Article 224 of the Constitution of India provides
for   appointment   of   Additional   and   Acting   Judges.   The
period for appointment of Additional Judges of the High
Court   as   mentioned   in   Article   224(1)   is   “for   such
period not exceeding two years”. The Constitution Bench
in  S.P. Gupta (supra)  has considered in detail Article
224   of   the   Constitution,   its   purpose   and   object.
Article 224 as it existed in the original constitution
contained the heading “Attendance of retired Judges at
sittings   of   High   Court”  which   was   to   the   following
effect:
“Article   224.   Attendance   of   retired
Judges   at   sittings   of   High   Court.­
Notwithstanding   anything   in   this
Chapter, the Chief Justice of a High
Court for any State may at any time,
with   the   previous   consent   of   the
President, request any person who has
held   the   office   of   a   Judge   of   that
Court   or   of   any   other   High   Court   to
sit   and   act   as   a   Judge   of   the   High
Court for that State, and every such
person   so   requested   shall,   while   so
sitting   and   acting,   be   entitled   to
such allowance as the President may by
order   determine   and   have   all   the
jurisdiction,   powers   and   privileges
of, but shall not otherwise be deemed
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to be, a Judge of that High Court:
Provided   that   nothing   in   this
article shall be deemed to require any
such   person   as   aforesaid   to   sit   and
act   as   a   Judge   of   that   High   Court
unless he consents so to do.”
9. Article   224   as   originally   contained   in   the
Constitution   did   not   work   well   and   neither   found
adequate   nor   satisfactory.   The   Parliament   to   combat
mounting   arrears   of   the   cases   in   the   High   Courts
amended   Article   224   by   substituting   existing   Article
224   by   a   new   Article   providing   for   appointment   of
Additional   Judges.   Article   224   as   amended   by   the
Constitution   (Seventh   Amendment)   Act,   1956   is   as
follows:
“Article   224.   Appointment   of
additional and acting Judges.­(1).­ If by
reason of any temporary increase in the
business   of   High   Court   or   by   reason   of
arrears   of   work   therein,   it   appears   to
the   President   that   the   number   of   the
Judges   of   that   Court   should   be   for   the
time   being   increased,   the   President   may
appoint   duly   qualified   persons   to   be
additional Judges of the Court for such
period not exceeding two years as he may
specify.
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(2). When any Judge of a High Court other
than   the   Chief   Justice   is   by   reason   of
absence or for any other reason unable to
perform   the   duties   of   his   office   or   is
appointed   to   act   temporarily   as   Chief
Justice, the President may appoint a duly
qualified   person   to   act   as   a   Judge   of
that Court until the permanent Judge has
resumed his duties.
(3). No person appointed as an additional
or   acting   Judge   of   a   High   Court   shall
hold   office   after   attaining   the   age   of
sixty two years.”
10. Deliberating the object and purpose of Article 224
as provided by the Constitution Seventh Amendment, the
Constitution   Bench   in  S.P.   Gupta   (supra)  made   the
following observation:
“37...The power to appoint an Additional
Judge   cannot   therefore   be   exercised   by
the   President   unless   there   is   either
temporary increase in the business of the
High   Court   or   there   is   accumulation   of
arrears   of   work   in   the   High   Court   and
even   when   one   of   these   two   conditions
exists,   it   is   necessary   that   the
President must be further satisfied that
it   is   necessary   to   make   a   temporary
increase in the number of Judges of that
High   Court.   The   words   "for   the   time
being" clearly indicate that the increase
in   the   number   of   judges   which   the
President   may   make   by   appointing
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Additional Judges would be temporary with
a   view   to   dealing   with   the   temporary
increase   in   the   business   of   the   High
Court or the arrears of work in the High
Court. Article   224,   Clause   (1)   did   not
contemplate   that   the   increase   in   the
number   of   Judges   should   be   for   an
indefinite   duration.   The   object   clearly
was   that   Additional   Judge   should   be
appointed for a short period in order to
dispose of the temporary increase in the
business   of   the   High   Court   and/or   to
clear off the arrears of pending cases.
There is sufficient indication in Clause
(1) of Article 224 that the appointments
of Additional Judges were intended to be
of short duration and Parliament expected
that   sufficient   number   of   Additional
Judges   would   be   appointed   so   as   to
dispose of the temporary increase in the
work   or   the   arrears   of   pending   cases
within   a   period   of   two   years   or
thereabouts.   That   is   why   Clause   (1)
of Article   224 provided   that   Additional
Judges may be appointed for a period not
exceeding two years. The underlying idea
was   that   there   should   be   an   adequate
strength of permanent Judges in each High
Court   to   deal   with   its   normal
institutions and so far as the temporary
increase   in   the   work   or   the   arrears   of
pending cases were concerned, Additional
Judges   appointed   for   a   period   not
exceeding   two   years   should   assist   in
disposing of such work....”
11. The   Constitution   Bench,   however,   noticed   and
observed that true intention and purpose of clause (1)
of   Article   224   was   never   carried   into   effect,   what
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practically   Article   224   was   utilised     has   been
categorically   stated   in   paragraph   38   of   the
Constitution Bench judgment in the following words:
“38...The   entire   object   and   purpose
of   the   introduction   of   Clause   (1)
of Article   224 was   perverted   and
Additional   Judges   were   appointed   under
this Article not as temporary Judges for
a short period who would go back on the
expiration of their term as soon as the
arrears   are   cleared   off,   but   as   Judges
whose tenure, though limited to a period
not   exceeding   two   years   at   the   time   of
each appointment as an Additional Judge,
would be renewed from time to time until
a berth was found for them in the cadre
of permanent Judges. By and large, every
person   entered   the   High   Court   judiciary
as   an   Additional   Judge   in   the   clear
expectation that as soon as a vacancy in
the   post   of   a   permanent   Judge   became
available   to   him   in   the   High   Court   he
would be confirmed as a permanent Judge
and if no such vacancy became available
to him until the expiration of his term
of office, he would be re­appointed as an
Additional   Judge   for   a   further   term   in
the same High Court, Therefore, far from
being   aware   that   on   the   expiration   of
their   term,   they   would   have   to   go   back
because   they   were   appointed   only   as
temporary   Judges   for   a   short   period   in
order to clear off the arrears ­­ which
would   have   been   the   position   if   Clause
(1)   of Article   224 had   been   implemented
according   to   its   true   intendment   and
purpose ­­ the Additional Judges entered
the   High   Court   judiciary   with   a
legitimate   expectation   that   they   would
not have to go back on the expiration of
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their   term   but   they   would   be   either
reappointed   as   Additional   Judges   for   a
further   term   or   if   in   the   meanwhile,   a
vacancy in the post of a permanent Judge
became available, they would be confirmed
as   permanent   Judges.   This   expectation
which   was   generated   in   the   minds   of
Additional   Judges   by   reason   of   the
peculiar   manner   in   which   Clause   (1)
of Article   224 was   operated,   cannot   now
be   ignored   by   the   Government   and   the
Government   cannot   be   permitted   to   say
that when the term of an Additional Judge
expires, the Government can drop him at
its   sweet   will.   By   reason   of   the
expectation raised in his mind through a
practice   followed   for   almost   over   a
quarter of a century, an Additional Judge
is   entitled   to   be   considered   for
appointment as an Additional Judge for a
further   term   on   the   expiration   of   his
original term and if in the meanwhile, a
vacancy in the post of a permanent Judge
becomes available to him on the basis of
seniority   amongst   Additional   Judges,   he
has   a   right   to   be   considered   for
appointment as a permanent Judge in his
High Court.”
12. The  ratio laid  down  by  the  Constitution  Bench in
S.P. Gupta(supra)  as relied by the petitioner needs to
be considered in the light of what has been said above
by the Constitution Bench itself.   Now, the background
facts which led the Constitution Bench to make certain
observations in paragraph 44 need to be noted. The writ
petition in which the question of tenure of Additional
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Judges   came   to   be   considered   was   filed   in   the   Delhi
High   Court   which   was   transferred   to   this   Court   as
Transferred   Case   No.20   of   1981.   In   the   said   writ
petition   apart   from   challenging   the   circular   dated
18.03.1981   issued   by   the   Union   Law   Minister,   a
complaint was made regarding short­term appointments of
three   Additional   Judges   of   Delhi   High   Court,   namely,
Shri O.N. Vohra, Shri S.N. Kumar and Shri S.B. Wad. The
above   Additional   Judges   had   originally   been   appointed
as   Additional   Judges   for   a   period   of   two   years   and
whose term was expiring on the midnight of 06.03.1981.
They were further appointed as Additional Judges for a
period   of   three   months   only   from   07.03.1981.   In   the
writ   petition   complaint   was   made   of   such   short­term
appointment.   It   was   contended   that   such   short­term
appointments were unjustified by  the terms of Article
224   and   were   in   any   event   subversive   of   the
independence   of   the   judiciary.   The   Central   Government
subsequently   did   not   extend   the   term   of   S/Shri   O.N.
Vohra   and   S.N.   Kumar,   whereas   Shri   S.B.   Wad   was
continued   as   an  Additional   Judge   for   a  period   of   one
15
year from 07.06.1981. S/Shri O.N. Vohra and S.N. Kumar
were not continued for a further term.
13. The   petitioner   has   heavily   relied   on   what   the
Constitution Bench has said in paragraph 44, where in
the   above   context,   it   had   observed   that   when   the
arrears   of   pending   cases   are   such   that   they   cannot
possibly   be  disposed   of  within   a   period  of   less  than
two   years,   Additional   Judges   must   be   appointed   for   a
term of two years and no less. The observations made by
the   Constitution   Bench   in   paragraph   44   are   to   the
following effect:
“44.  One last argument now remains,
when   an   additional   Judge   is   appointed,
what   should   be   the   term   for   which   his
appointment   is   made.   Clause   (1)
of Article   224 provides   that   an
Additional Judge may be appointed for a
period not exceeding two years. That is
the   outside   limit   prescribed   by Article
224Clause   (1)   and   it   was   therefore,
contended by the learned Attorney General
that   appointment   of   an   Additional   Judge
can be made for any term, howsoever short
it be, so long as it does not exceed two
years.   The   appointments   of   O.N.   Vohra,
S.N. Kumar and S.B. Wad for three months
and   the   appointments   of   some   other
Additional   Judges   for   six   months   were
thus   defended   by   the   learned   Attorney
General   as   being   within   the   scope   and
16
ambit   of   Clause   (1)   of Article   224. We
cannot   accept   this   argument.   It   is   no
doubt   true   that   Clause   (1)   of   (the)
Article   fixes   the   outer   limit   for   the
term for which an Additional Judge may be
appointed, but that has been done because
there   may   be   cases   where   the   temporary
increase in the business or the arrears
of pending cases are so small that it may
be   possible   to   dispose   them   of   by
appointing   Additional   Judges   for   a   term
less   than   two   years.   If   the   temporary
increase in the business or the arrears
of   pending   cases   can   be   disposed   of
within   a   shorter   time,   why   should
Additional   Judges   be   appointed   for   the
full   period   of   two   years.   That   is   why
Parliament   provided   that   an   Additional
Judge   may   be   appointed   for   a   term   not
exceeding two years. But when arrears of
pending cases are so large that it would
not be possible to dispose them of even
within a period of ten years ­­ and when
we  say  ten  years,  we  are  making a  very
conservative   estimate   ­­   what
justification there can be for appointing
Additional   Judges   for   a   period   of   less
than   two   years.   That   would   be   plainly
outside the scope of the power conferred
under Clause (1) of Article 224. When the
arrears   of   pending   cases   are   such   that
they   cannot   possibly   be   disposed   of
within a period of less than two years,
Additional Judges must be appointed for a
term of two years and no less....”
14. Thus,   the   above   observations   were   made   by   the
Constitution   Bench   in   the   background   when   although
three Additional Judges were initially appointed for a
17
period   of   two   years   but   they   were   further   appointed
only for a period of three months and after that only
one   was   continued   for   a   period   of   one   year.   The
Constitution   Bench   having   noticed   the   purposes   of
Article 224 has observed that when arrears of pending
cases are such that they cannot possibly be disposed of
then   the   purpose   and   object   of   appointment   of
Additional  Judges is that appointment should  be given
for two years and no less. But the above observation of
the Constitution Bench has to be read in reference to
the   context   in   which   it   was   made.   Before   the
Constitution Bench, the question  as to when remaining
tenure of a person to be appointed as Additional Judge
is less than two years, whether such appointment is in
conformity with Article 224   or not, was neither gone
into   nor   any   opinion   was   expressed   whereas   an
observation was made in paragraph 32 which supports the
view   that   in   a   case   where   Additional   Judge   has   been
appointed for a period of two years, he would cease to
be a Judge if he attains the age of 62 years prior to
the expiration of his term of two years. This clearly
supports that the tenure  of appointment of  Additional
18
Judges who have less than two years to retire is not
contrary   to   Article   224.   In   paragraph   32   following
observations have been made by the Constitution Bench:
“32...Clause(3)   of  Article   224  provides
inter alia that no person appointed as an
Additional Judge shall hold office after
attaining the age of 62 years. Therefore
even   if   an   Additional   Judge   has   been
appointed for a period of two years, he
would cease to be a Judge if he attains
the   age   of   62   years   prior   to   the
expiration of his term of two years.”
15. The observations of the Constitution Bench in S.P.
Gupta   (supra),  as   noticed   above,     clearly   do   not
support   the   submission   of   the   petitioner   that
appointment of Additional Judges for a period of less
than   two   years   when   they   are   attaining   the   age   of
superannuation before two years is contrary to Article
224.   We   thus   do   not   find   any   merit   in   the   first
submission of the petitioner.
16. Now   we   come   to   the   second   submission   of   the
petitioner.   Petitioner   submits   that   although   on   the
date   when   recommendations   were   made   for   names   of
respondent   Nos.2   and   3   by   the   High   Court   for
19
appointment as Additional Judges  they were members  of
the Judicial Service of the State but the day they were
issued appointment under Article 224, they had already
retired from Judicial Service, hence were not eligible
for appointment as Additional Judges.
17. Petitioner has relied on the judgment of this Court
in  Shri   Kumar   Padma   Prasad  (supra)  in  support  of   the
submission that who is not a member of Judicial Service
is ineligible for appointment as Additional Judge. The
case   of  Shri   Kumar   Padma   Prasad   (supra)  was   a   case
where petitioner has challenged the appointment of Shri
K.N. Srivastava as a Judge of Gauhati High Court on the
ground   that   he   does   not   fulfil   the   eligibility   for
appointment   as   contained   in   Article   217   of   the
Constitution of India. Name of Shri K.N. Srivastava was
recommended on the ground that he held Judicial Office
for   at   least   10   years.   The   challenge   in   the   writ
petition   was   that   Shri   K.N.   Srivastava   does   not   fall
within the expression Judicial Office as defined under
Article   217(2)(a).   This   Court   after   referring   to
judgment   of   this   Court   in  Chandra   Mohan   v.   State   of
20
U.P., AIR 1966 SC 1987,    held that Judicial Office as
used in Article 217(2)(a)   must be a part of Judicial
Service   of   the   State.   In   paragraph   25   following   was
held:
“25.  It   is   thus,   clear   that   the
expression   "judicial   office"   under
Article 217(2)(a) of the Constitution has
to be interpreted in consonance with the
scheme of Chapters V and VI of Part VI of
the   Constitution.   We,   therefore,   hold
that   expression   "judicial   office"   under
Article   217(2)(a) of   the   Constitution
means   a   "judicial   office"   which   belongs
to the judicial service as defined under
Article   236(b) of   the   Constitution   of
India.   In   order   to   qualify   for
appointment   as   a   Judge   of   a   High   Court
under  Article   217(2)(a) a   person   must
hold a "judicial office" which must be a
part   of   the   judicial   service   of   the
State.”
18. After holding that Judicial Office must be the part
of Judicial Service of the State, position held by Shri
K.N. Srivastava was detailed and this Court came to the
conclusion that the office held by Shri K.N. Srivastava
was not a Judicial Office and he was not qualified as
Judge of the High Court. In paragraph 36 following was
held by this Court:
“36.   We   have   already   held   that
"judicial   office"   in  Article   217(2)(a)
21
means an office as a part of the judicial
service as defined under  Article 236(b) of the
Constitution of India. The office of the
Assistant to Deputy Commissioner held by
Srivastava   for   a   period   of   about   six
months under the notification reproduced
above, was neither a judicial office nor
was   it   part   of   a   judicial   service   as
defined   under   Article  236(b) of   the
Constitution   of   India.   We,   therefore,
accept the second contention advanced by
Mr.   Anil   Diwan   and   Ram   Jethmalani   and
hold   that   Srivastava   was   not   qualified
for   appointment   as   a   Judge   of   a   High
Court   under  Article   217(2)(a) of   the
Constitution of India.”
19. Petitioner has placed reliance on paragraphs 25, 35
and   41   of   the   judgment   of  Shri   Kumar   Padma   Prasad
(supra)   Kumar   Padma   Prasad   (supra)  which   are   to   the
following effect:
“25.   It   is   thus,   clear   that   the
expression   "judicial   office"   under
Article 217(2)(a) of the Constitution has
to be interpreted in consonance with the
scheme of Chapters V and VI of Part VI of
the   Constitution.   We,   therefore,   hold
that   expression   "judicial   office"   under
Article   217(2)(a) of   the   Constitution
means   a   "judicial   office"   which   belongs
to the judicial service as defined under
Article   236(b) of   the   Constitution   of
India.   In   order   to   qualify   for
appointment   as   a   Judge   of   a   High   Court
under   Article   217(2)(a)  a   person   must
hold a "judicial office" which must be a
part   of   the   judicial   service   of   the
State.
22
 xxx xxx xxx xxx
35. The   Word   "office"   has   various
meanings   and   we   have   to   see   which   is
appropriate   meaning   to   be   ascribed   to
this   word   in   the   context   it   appears   in
the Constitution. We are of the view that
the framers of the Constitution did not
and could not have meant by a "judicial
office" which did not exist independently
and the duties or part of the duties of
which   could   be   conferred   on   any   person
whether   trained   or   not   in   the
administration   of   justice.   The   word
"judicial office" under Article 217(2)(a)
in   our   view   means   a   subsisting   office
with a substantive position which has an
existence independent from its holder.
     xxx xxx xxx xxx
41. We   allow   transferred   writ
petition   of   Kumar   Padma   Prasad   and
declare that K.N. Srivastava, on the date
of issue of warrant by the President of
India, was not qualified to be appointed
as   a   Judge   of   the   High   Court.   As   a
consequence, we quash his appointment as
a   judge   of   the   Gauhati   High   Court.   We
direct   the   Union   of   India   and   other
respondents   present   before   us   not   to
administer   oath   or   affirmation   under
Article 219 of the Constitution of India
to   K.N.   Srivastava.   We   further   restrain
K.N.   Srivastava   from   making   and
subscribing   an   oath   or   affirmation   in
terms of Article 219 of the Constitution
of India and assuming office of the Judge
of the High Court. We direct the Registry
to  send a  copy  of  this  judgment to  the
President of India for his consideration
and   necessary   action   in   terms   of   our
23
judgment. There shall be no order as to
costs.”
20. There cannot be any dispute to the proposition laid
down by this Court in paragraph 25 that a person must
hold Judicial Office which must be a part of Judicial
Service of the State for appointment of a Judge of the
High   Court   under   Article   217(2)(a).   Much   emphasis   is
being given by the petitioner on the observation made
in paragraph 35 that the word 'Judicial Office' under
Article   217(2)(a)   means   a   subsisting   office   with   a
substantive position which has an existence independent
from its holder. The above observation has been made by
this   Court   in   reference   to   nature   of   the   different
offices   held   by   Shri   K.N.   Srivastava   in   the   State
specially while dealing with  the contention that Shri
Srivastava   having   held   the   office   of   Deputy
Commissioner   by   Rule   9   of   the   1937   Rules   whether   he
fulfilled the requirement under Article 217 read with
(2)(a)   explanation.   The   argument   forcibly   put   in
paragraph 31 was rejected in paragraph 32 which are to
the following effect:
24
“31.     Mr.   Venugopal   contended   that
the   administration   of   justice   both   on
civil and criminal side was being manned
exclusively   by   the   Deputy   Commissioner
and his Assistants under the 1937 Rules.
No   other   courts   were   functioning.   Apart
from   administering   criminal   and   civil
justice   the   total   administration   of   the
district   known   as   the   Lushai   Hills   was
vested   in   the   Governor   of   Assam   ,   the
Deputy   Commissioner   of   Lushai   Hill,   and
his   Assistants.   The   Deputy   Commissioner
under   the   1937   Rules   was   competent   to
pass sentence of death, transportation or
imprisonment up to a maximum provided for
the   offence   and   fine   up   to   any   amount.
The Assistants to the Deputy Commissioner
were to exercise such powers as conferred
by the Governor not exceeding those of a
magistrate of the first class as defined
under the Code of Criminal Procedure. An
appeal   lies   to   the   Deputy   Commissioner
against   any   order   passed   by   any   of   his
Assistants.  Similarly   under   Rule   15   the
administration   of   civil   justice   was
entrusted to the Deputy Commissioner and
his Assistants. Srivastava exercised the
powers   of   Assistant   to   the   Deputy
commissioner   from   June   23,   1979   to
December   19,   1979.   According   to   Mr.
Venugopal the office of the Assistant to
which   Srivastava     was   appointed   for   a
period of about six months was a judicial
office. According to him period for which
he   held   the   judicial   office   and   the
quality   of   the   said   office   are   not
relevant   factors.   He   therefore,
forcefully   contended   that   Srivastava,
having   held   the   judicial   office   of
Assistant   to   the   Deputy   Commissioner
under   the   1937   Rules   he   fulfills   the
qualification   under  Article   217(2)(a)
read   with   (a)   to   the   Explanation.
25
According to him all the offices held by
Srivastava after relinquishing the office
of   the   Assistant   to   the   Deputy
Commissioner   required   special   knowledge
of law and as such whole of that period
is liable to be included for counting 10
years   during   which   he   held   a   judicial
office. Srivastava, according to him, is
qualified for appointment as a judge of a
High Court.
32.   We   have   given   our   thoughtful
consideration to the argument advanced by
Mr.   Venugopal.   We   are   not   inclined   to
agree with him.”
21. Thus,   the   observation   in  Shri   Kumar   Padma   Prasad
(supra), in paragraph 35 as extracted above was in the
above   context.   This   Court   was   not   concerned   with   the
issue which is raised in the present writ petition as
to   whether   the   person   should   be   holding   a   Judicial
Office   at   the   time   of   his   appointment   as   Additional
Judge of the High Court, although, he held a Judicial
Office   of   the   State  when   his   name   was   recommended   by
the   High   Court   for   Additional   Judge.     Thus,   the
observations   made   by   this   Court   in   paragraphs   25,   35
and 41 do not support the contentions which are sought
to be raised by the petitioner.
26
22. Shri   Maninder   Singh,   learned   Additional   Solicitor
General submitted that Article 217(2)(a) uses the words
'held' a Judicial Office which means that a person who
has held Judicial Office at least for a period of 10
years is eligible for appointment as Additional Judge.
23. The   word   'held'   has   been   defined   in   Words   and
Phrases Permanent Edition,  Volume 19 to the following
effect:
"Held   has   no   primary   or   technical
meaning   and   its   meaning   is   determined
largely   by   connection   in   which   it   is
used.   State   v.   Thomson,   449   P.2d   656,
659, 79 N.M. 748.
Perfect   participle   “held”   has   no
connotation of time. Holman Transfer Co.
v. City of Portland, 350 P.2d 929, 930,
196 Or. 551.”
24. The   word   'held'   as   used   in   Article   217(2)(a)
indicates that what is prescribed is qualification for
appointment   of   a   Judge   of   the   High   Court   is   that   a
person has for at least 10 years held a judicial office
in the territory of India. Use of word 'held' in the
above   clause   does   not   indicate   that   qualification   is
27
also meant that apart from holding 10 years  a judicial
office,   the   incumbent   should   also   be   holding   the
judicial office at the time notification under Article
224 is issued.
25. The   above   conclusion   is   also   supported   by   taking
into   consideration   the   Explanation   (a)   and   (aa)   to
Article 217(2). When Explanation  (a) provides that  in
computing   the   period   during   which   a   person   has   held
judicial office in the territory of India, there shall
be included any period, after he has held any judicial
office, during which the person has been an Advocate of
a High Court or has held the office of a member of a
tribunal   or   any   post,   under   the   Union   or   a   State,
requiring special knowledge of law.
26. A   plain   reading   of   eligibility   as   provided   under
Article   217(2)(a)   does   not   make   the   respondent   Nos.2
and 3 ineligible for  appointment as Additional  Judges
of the Rajasthan High Court. This Court's judgment in
Shri   Kumar   Padma   Prasad   (supra)  does   not   support   the
submission  which  is pressed by  the petitioners  before
28
us.     We,   thus,   do   not   find   force   in   the   second
submission of the petitioner.
27. Before   parting   with   this   case   we   need   to   remind
ourselves the purpose and object for which Article 224
of the Constitution was substituted by the Constitution
Seventh   Amendment   of   1956.   Appointment   of   Additional
Judges   was   envisaged   as   appointment   to   cope   with   the
increased work load of cases in different High Courts.
The   temporary   increase   in   the   business   of   the   High
Court   or   by   reason   of   arrears   of   work   therein   was   a
reason   for   appointment   or   reason   for   invoking   power
under   Article   224,   although   as   noted   by   Constitution
Bench in S.P. Gupta's case (supra) by lapse of time the
use of Article 224 has been substantially changed.  But
there is no denying that to cope with the increase in
business   of   the   High   Court   and   the   arrears   of   cases
emergent steps are needed by all to fulfil the object
and   purpose   for   which   constitutional   provision   was
brought   in   place,   enormous   delay   in   appointment   of
Judges   of   the   High   Courts   not   only   frustrate   the
purpose and object for which Article 224(1) was brought
into the Constitution but belies the hope and trust of
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litigant who comes to the High Courts seeking justice
and early disposal of their cases.
28. In  Supreme   Court   Advocates­on­Record   Association
and Others  v.  Union of India,  (1993) 4 SCC 441,  this
Court expressed in  categorical terms that the process
of   appointment   must   be   initiated   at   least   one   month
prior to the date of an anticipated vacancy.   It was
done to achieve an ideal situation, namely, to ensure
that   the   post   is   filled   up   immediately   after   the
occurrence   of   the   vacancy   so   that   no   time   is   lost.
Unfortunately,   it   still   remains   a   far   cry.     In   the
first   instance,   names   are   not   forwarded   by   the   High
Court in time.   What to talk of sending the names one
month before the occurrence of an anticipated vacancy,
names are not forwarded even much after the vacancy has
occurred.     It   is   also   seen   that   once   the   names   are
forwarded,  they remain  pending at the Executive level
for   unduly   long   time,   before   they   are   sent   to   the
Collegium of the Supreme Court for approval along with
the inputs of the Executive.   Even after the clearance
of the names by the Collegium, these remain pending at
the   level   of   the   Executive.     All   this   results   in
30
inordinate   delay.     Sometimes,   it   takes   more   than   one
year   to   complete   the   process   from   the   date   of
forwarding   the   names   till   appointment.     There   are
instances   where   time   consumed   is   much   more   than   one
year   even.     In   the   case   of   judicial   officers   of
subordinate   judiciary,   who   are   recommended   for
appointment   to   the   High   Court,   this   process   of
consuming so much time adversely affects their tenure.
It   is   a   matter   of   common   knowledge   that   most   of   the
judicial officers get a chance for elevation when only
few years’ service is left. Thus, when unduly long time
is taken, even this lesser tenure gets further reduced.
It   also  gives   rise   to   the   situation  like   the   present
one.     Equally,   members   of   the   Bar,   whose   names   are
recommended   for   elevation   to   the   High   Court,   undergo
hardships of a different kind.   It is unjust that the
fate   of   such   persons   remains   in   limbo   for   indefinite
periods   and   gives   rise   to   unnecessary   conjectural
debates.   It leads to unpleasant situations which can
be avoided.   It is, therefore, in the interest of all
the   stakeholders,   including   the   judiciary,   that
definite   timelines   are   drawn   for   each   stage   of   the
31
process, so that process of appointment is accomplished
within a time bound manner.  We need not say more.  It
is   more  so,  to   keep  hope  and  aspiration   of   litigants
alive   and   to   fulfil   the   commitment   of   providing   a
speedy justice the process of appointment of Judges of
the  High   Court   needs   more   expedition   at  the  hands   of
all   who   have   to     discharge   the   constitutional
obligation entrusted by the Constitution of India. With
these observations, we dismiss the writ petition.
...............................J.
( A.K. SIKRI )
...............................J.
( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
NEW DELHI,
FEBRUARY 23, 2018.

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