Abhimeet Sinha vs High Court of Judicature At Patna 2024 INSC 381- Judicial Service – Minimum Qualifying Marks In Viva Voce/ Interview

Judicial Service – Bihar Superior Judicial Service Rules, 1951 – Gujarat State Judicial Service Rules, 2005; Rule 8(3) – Rules stipulating minimum qualifying marks in the viva voce test as a part of the selection criteria for appointment to the District Judiciary – The Prescription of minimum qualifying marks for interview is permissible and this is not in violation of All India Judges (2002) which accepted certain recommendations of the Shetty Commission (Para 102)- Only the overriding weightage to the vivavoce segment has been frowned upon but the prescription of reasonable qualifying cut-off marks is not considered discriminatory- An interview unveils the essence of a candidate— their personality, passion, and potential. While the written exam measures knowledge, the interview reveals character and capability. Therefore, a person seeking a responsible position particularly as a judicial officer should not be shortlisted only by their performance on paper, but also by their ability to articulate and engage which will demonstrate their suitability for the role of a presiding officer in a court. In other words, the capability and potential of the candidate, to preside in Court to adjudicate adversarial litigation must also be carefully assessed during the interview. (Para 67)

Judicial Service – High Court should notify a designated authority for a given recruitment process with clearly defined roles, functions and responsibilities. The candidates can approach such a designated authority to seek clarification in case of any doubt and this would assuage the anxiety of the candidates to a considerable extent. Another such suggestion of providing a basic outline of the syllabus for the proposed test will also help candidates from diverse backgrounds to plan and prepare for the proposed examination even before the examination notification is released. The recruitment process must adhere to the timeline but if there is any special and unavoidable exigency, the stakeholders should be kept informed with due promptitude. (Para 100)

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 320(3) – Governor is under no compulsion to consult the Public Service Commission in case the Commission does not wish to be consulted. Such a course would be in consonance with the proviso to Article 320(3) of the Constitution. (Para 93)

Estoppel– Principle of estoppel cannot override the law (Para 19)

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 and 32 – Res Judicata -The principle of res judicata is one of universal application and since the final judgment is binding on the parties thereto, an applicant under Article 226 cannot apply on the same grounds under Article 32, without getting the adverse judgment set aside in appeal. However, a distinction was made between cases where the application under Article 226 has been dismissed on merits and cases where it is dismissed on a preliminary ground. It was further held that an Article 32 petition would not be maintainable on the same facts and the same ground – Referred to Daryao v State of UP AIR 1961 SC 14570- The above ratio cannot however be applied stricto sensu when it is not the same writ petitioner who has approached this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. (Para 22-23)

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