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The SC holds a Judicial Officer cannot apply for appointment qua vacancy under Art. 233 for District Judge.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Vineet Saran

The SC {DHEERAJ MOR v. HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF DELHI} holds that under Article 233, a judicial officer, regardless of her or his previous experience as an Advocate with seven years’ practice cannot apply, and compete for appointment to any vacancy in the post of District Judge; her or his chance to occupy that post would be through promotion, in accordance with Rules framed under Article 234 and proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India.

It was held that the Constitution makers consciously wished that members of the Bar, should be considered for appointment at all three levels, i.e. as District judges, High Courts and the SC. This was because counsel practising in the law courts have a direct link with the people who need their services; their views about the functioning of the courts, is a constant dynamic. Similarly, their views, based on the experience gained at the Bar, injects the judicial branch with fresh perspectives; uniquely positioned as a professional, an advocate has a tripartite relationship: one with the public, the second with the court, and the third, with her or his client. A counsel, learned in the law, has an obligation, as an officer of the court, to advance the cause of his client, in a fair manner, and assist the court. Being members of the legal profession, advocates are also considered thought leaders. Therefore, the Constitution makers envisaged that at every rung of the judicial system, a component of direct appointment from members of the Bar should be resorted to. For all these reasons, it is held that members of the judicial service of any State cannot claim to be appointed for vacancies in the cadre of District Judge, in the quota earmarked for appointment from amongst eligible Advocates, under Article 233.

In the present case, the question involved in the matters is the interpretation of Article 233 of the   Constitution   of   India   as   to   the   eligibility   of   members   of   the subordinate   judicial   service   for   appointment   as   District   Judge   as against the quota reserved for the Bar by way of direct recruitment.

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