Mangaluru: It was not too long ago that an overworked Chief Justice of India T S Thakur broke down in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking about burden on the judiciary and the need to consider long pending judges’ appointments. The CJI had also bemoaned that the common man’s faith on judiciary had hit an all time low.
In what may come as just an extension to the concern raised by the CJI, some shocking facts about foul play in appointment of Civil Judges in High Court of Karnataka has come to light and this revelation will only further kill the faith of the common man on judiciary.
According to a notification No.CJRC.1/2014 dated January 7, 2016, of the Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka, 142 candidates were selected as suitable in order of merit, which was prepared on the basis of the marks secured in the Competitive Written examination and Viva-Voce. The selection process was held during September and December 2015. The present Registrar General of High Court of Karnataka is John Micheal Cunha and he was appointed to this post in December 2014.
An activist on conditions of anonymity alleged that there is foul play in the selection process of candidates for recruitment to the post of Civil Judges, which should have happened in accordance with Karnataka Judicial Services (Recruitment) Rules, 2014 and Amendment Rules, 2011 and 2015 from the notification dated January 7, 2016 made by the order of the High Court under the signature of John Micheal Cunha, the Registrar General, copy of which is with NewsKarnataka.com.
As per rules, within 15 days of Preliminary exams, a passing candidate must pay the stipulated fee for Main Exams. But the first list of 16 candidates and second list of 31 candidates who have not paid the fee for main examination was released, in which name of one Deshmukh Shivkumar’s name appears. What is shocking is the point that name of the very same Deshmukh Shivakumar from Bidar, who has not even paid the fee of Rs 1000 for Main Exam figures in the list of 142 candidates selected for civil judge position!
According to notification no. CJRC 1/2014 dated 31.3.2015 application were invited online for direct recruitment to 211 post of Civil Judges (the then civil Judge (Junior Division) which included the existing and consequential vacancies. Online application for Preliminary examination was to be submitted on 15.5.2015 by 11.59 PM and the payment of fees was to be done through challan before 18.5.2015.
With the Challan generated online, it has to be endorsed, scanned and uploaded, and any such application uploaded without the receipt of the fees paid will be rejected. Any successful candidate, who becomes eligible for Main examination shall pay the fee, within 15 days from the date of announcement of results of Preliminary, failing which, the candidate will not be considered for Main examination.
Candidates claiming reservation under local cadre shall possess, relevant certificate issued by the concerned authority on or before the last day of applying online as prescribed under the Karnataka Public Employment(Reservation in appointment for Hyderabad Karnataka Region) (issue of eligibility certificates) rules, 2013. Candidates will have to get their document verified at the time of Viva-Voce.
Direct recruitment happens on the basis of aggregate marks obtained in competitive examination (written and Viva-Voce) conducted by high court consisting of three stages that is, Preliminary and Main Examination and Viva Voce. Preliminary Exams consist of three Part A, B and C and Main examination has four papers, and Viva Voce and Computer Test.
Already the number of candidates who went though selection process for the post of Civil Judges are in service as Assistant Public Prosecutors, whose selection as APP itself was questioned and Crime no.59/2014 was filed in the Karnataka Lokayukta which is pending investigation.
Among the candidates who went through the process of selection for Civil Judge and got selected are 22 Assistant Public Prosecutors who are in service. According to the notification dated 7th , January, 2016 the selection of In-Service candidates (Assistant Public Prosecutors) as Civil Judges shall be subject to the outcome of the ongoing criminal investigation, which is in progress against the selection of some of the Assistant Public Prosecutors during the year 2014-15, by the Department of Prosecutions and Government Litigation.
When this reporter contacted K. Natarajan, the principal secretary, Law Department, Government of Karnataka, and drew his attention to the notification No.CJRC 1 of 2014 dated 7.1.2016, of the list of 142 candidates selected for the post of Civil Judge, he said, a Writ petition filed by Assistant Public Prosecutors regarding the appointment of APPs as Civil Judges is pending before the High court, and hence he will not be able to comment. The Principal secretary, however said the notification No.CJRC 1 of 2014 dated 7.1.2016, of the list of 142 candidates selected for the post of Civil Judges were sent to his office by the Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka.
Justice M.F.Saldhana former Judge of Karnataka and Bombay High Court said that four million cases are pending not because of the government, but because of the Judiciary.
“If you take a Judge and appoint him as Registrar General it is a waste of a judge. Judges don’t have special skills as far as administration is concerned. In the district court all the administration has to be done by the District judges. Once they are become engaged in administrative work the judicial work suffers. For all this Judiciary is responsible and it has been repeatedly pointed out by me, that we should have an authority like Public Service Commission,” he insisted.
Why should the Judges involve in selection of Judges? Is it not killing judicial time, he questioned adding that the end result is that the Chief Justice and the Collegium make some motivated decisions on basis of recommendations. He said that he has pointed out time and again to the chief justice of state high court hat there is proven corruption against the present Registrar Generaland added, in spite of the that, some have recommended him for the post of highcourt judge to the Supreme Court which evntually might appoint him.
Citing example of how a judge of the Karnataka High Court had recommended an Advocate for the post of district Judge, who was from Bhatkal in Karnataka, despite the advocate having criminal credentials and how the recommending judge fought tooth and nail to get the appointment done, Justice Saldanha said that when such is the situation, there is no logic in CJI blaming the government for the problems with regards to candidates and appointments.
“Who has created the deadlock,” Justice Saldanha questioned raking up another crucial issue.
He says that if selection of judges is later found to have happened by unscrupulous means and if the said judge is dismissed, then all his judgments too would be considered null and void!
With the foul play in appointment of Civil Judges coming to fore, one may only have to pray for the cause of judiciary and the commoners who knock the doors of courts seeking justice.