JC can appoint candidates who had not applied but who it considers suitable as judges


The Judicial Council has issued new directives to govern the process of nomination of judges in high courts and district courts.

New directives state that those lawyers that apply for the post of lower court judges should produce at least 100 verdicts, orders, or legal drafts where their contribution as a lawyer has been recognised.

Lawyers applying for district court judges should pass written exams.

The applicant should produce at least 10 copies of such work in one year and total such contributions should reach 100 over 10 years. Apart from this, lawyers should also provide their tax filing details of the past three years.

New directives add that lawyers will be appointed as judges after evaluating their contribution to the development of jurisprudence and their involvement in pro bono service. In this process, public comments made about lawyers by their clients will also be taken into account.

Aspirant judges, who are involved in legal education, must have published at least 10 research-oriented articles in national and international journals to be considered for judgeship.

In the case of judicial employees who want to apply for judgeship, applicants' seniority, educational certificates, performance evaluation, honesty, and their contribution to uphold the rule of law will be taken into consideration.

The JC will prepare the list of candidates that could include candidates who had not applied but who the JC considers suitable candidates.

While preparing the list of candidates, the JC will take into consideration the candidates' remarks about courts, their comments on social networking sites, and their conduct in the courts.

The Judicial Council will have to determine the vacancy of judges and call applications giving candidates 15 days for filing applications. People can lodge complaints against any candidate within seven days.

New directives also stipulate that the Judicial Council can interview the shortlisted candidates to test their eligibility for the job.

If any member of the JC has conflict of interest in the process of appointing judges, they should inform the JC about it and should not be involved in the process of appointing judges.

Moreover, the process of appointing judges will have to be inclusive.

JC states in the preamble of the directives that the new directives will ensure appointment of honest and capable judges in a transparent and accountable manner.

Minister of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs Govinda Bandi, who is also an ex-officio member of the Judicial Council, said the council issued new directives at his initiative.

The law minister said days of favouritism and nepotism while appointing judges were now over.

The new directives come in the backdrop of media reports that JC members were trying to choose their favourites as judges.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 8, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.