Large bench upholds HC’s order in matter of Civil Judge appointment

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Jan 2018 12:17:17


Legal Correspondent,

Challenging the State Government’s recommendation that the petitioner is not suitable for appointment to the post of Civil Judge, Class-II as the candidate had acquittal the criminal case with compromise, the large bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Nandita Dubey on Friday has directed that the ultimate decision on suitability of candidate for appointment is to rest with the High Court.

The large Bench said that in the judgment that it find that the judgment of this Court in Arvind Gurjar’s case (supra) does not lay down the correct law as the High Court has substituted its decision regarding suitability of a candidate and also issued a direction to appoint the petitioner, therefore, the entire judgment does not lay down correct law and is thus, overruled. Counsel for the petitioner raised another argument that the High Court has recommended the name of the petitioner for appointment as Civil Judge, therefore, the State Government is not competent to reject the name of the petitioner for appointment. He relies upon Rule 10 of the Rules of 1994 to contend that the High Court has to determine the eligibility of the candidate and not the State Government.

The large bench added that though the argument raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner has merit but in the present case, the High Court while recommending the name of the petitioner has left the question of eligibility to be determined by the State Government. The High Court does not have any mechanism to verify the antecedents. Though the petitioner has disclosed such antecedents and appropriately a decision on eligibility should have been taken by the High Court but once the High Court has left the decision to the State Government, the decision of the State Government that the petitioner is not eligible for appointment, cannot be said to be illegal or without jurisdiction. However, it may clarify that decision in respect of eligibility of any candidate on account of involvement in a criminal case has to be taken by the High Court. If the State has any information in respect of the antecedents or any other material which is relevant in respect of suitability of a candidate, the State must share the information with the High Court. The ultimate decision on suitability of candidate for appointment is to rest with the High Court.

The matter be placed before the Bench as per Roster in view of the opinion of this Court on the questions of law having been rendered in the above manner, the Large Bench said. The brief facts leading to the present writ petition are that the petitioner applied for appointment as Civil Judge, Class-II (Entry Level). The selection process of the said recruitment commenced advertisement dated on October 13, 2014.

The petitioner successfully completed all the three stages of the examination i.e. preliminary examination, main examination and interview and his name was recommended for appointment as Civil Judge, Class-II. However, while recommending the name of the petitioner on September 3, 2015, the following was communicated to the State Government by this Court that “Ashutosh Pawar (Roll No.1621), from Adarsh Indira Nagar, Main Road, Indore (MP) - 452002, Selected at Sr.No.-1 in ST category, has informed that on the basis of crimes registered against him at Police Station Malhargunj, Indore(i) Cr.Case 1742/08 under S. 452, 294, 324/34, 323/34, 506-B IPC was commenced, which was disposed on the basis of compromise and he was acquitted vide order dated on April 13, 2012 Passed by Ashutosh Shukla, JMFC, Indore; second Case under S. 294, 323/34, 506-B IPC was commenced before juvenile justice Board and on admission on January 12, 2007, order of admonition was passed.

Before issuing the appointment order, in respect of these selected candidate, the Government is required to verify as to the status and result of the criminal cases against them and to take such necessary steps as may be required under concerned law/rules.” It is on the basis of the said communication, the State Government communicated on March 9, 2016 that the petitioner is not suitable for appointment to the post of Civil Judge, Class-II. The said order has been challenged by the petitioner in the present writ petition.