Competitive Examination

Supreme Court: In a Civil Appeal filed against the judgment passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in a praying for filling up of the posts in the higher judiciary within 10% seats by limited departmental competitive examination (‘LDCE’) and cancellation of seats filled beyond the 10% quota, the Division Bench of M.R. Shah and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ. directed the High Court to comply with the directions of the Supreme Court restricting 10% seats to be filled by LDCE, to adjust the breach in further recruitment. The Court refused to grant any relief to the petitioners in the absence of selected/appointed candidate.

The petitioners contended that the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Assn. v. Union of India, (2010) 15 SCC 170 directed all the High Courts to fill up the posts in the higher judiciary by reserving 10% seats to be filled up by LDCE. Despite that, the Madhya Pradesh High Court exceeded the Quota by filling up the posts in higher judiciary beyond 10% limit. In addition, the petitioners also pointed towards Madhya Pradesh High Court not amending existing Service Rules providing 10% seats to be filled up by LDCE despite specific directions of the Court. Aggrieved and dissatisfied by the judgment dated 23-02-2018 in Rajendra Kumar Shrivas v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 1014, passed by the MP High Court dismissing the Petition seeking Writ of Quo Warranto, the petitioners approached the Court through present appeal.

The Court observed that the High Court considered the original writ petitioners praying for Writ of Quo Warranto, while they have prayed for the reliefs mentioned above. The Court was of the view that the reliefs sought by the petitioners in impugned Writ Petition cannot be said to be the reliefs under a Writ of Quo Warranto. The Court considered the present matter and issues on merits rather than remanding the same to the High Court.

The Court referred to All India Judges’ Association (supra) wherein, it was specifically directed that there shall be 25% of seats for direct recruitment from the Bar, 65% of seats are to be filled up by regular promotion of Civil Judge (Senior Division) and 10% seats are to be filled up by LDCE. It was further directed that if the candidates are unavailable for 10% seats or unable to qualify in the examination, then vacant posts are to be filled up by regular promotion in accordance with the Service Rules applicable, and that if the Rules are not amended, the said order shall prevail and further recruitment from 1-1-2011 shall be continued as directed.

The Court clarified the directions in the above judgment that on and from 1-1-2011, only 10% seats are to be filled up by LDCE and the seats beyond 10% filled up by LDCE to be considered as appointment excess in quota.

The Court referred to the facts in present case in the year 2017, when 740 posts were sanctioned, thus, 74 seats were to be filled up in accordance with the 10% rule, against which 78 posts were filled up by LDCE. Thereafter, 11 posts were further advertised, of which, 5 posts were filled up, going beyond the 10% seats quota.

Coming back to the challenge under the present petition, the Court refused to grant any relief in the absence of those selected/appointed candidates. However, the Court directed MP High Court to act in accordance with the directions issued in All India Judges’ Association (supra) and undertake adjusting the posts from 1-1-2011 wherever appointments have been made beyond 10% seats and adjust the same in future recruitment.

[Rajendra Kumar Shrivas v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 252, judgment dated 13-03-2023]

*Judgment authored by: Justice M.R. Shah.

Know Thy Judge | Justice M. R. Shah

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