‘Judicial review of review body’s decision is limited’, Rajasthan HC rejects plea challenging district judge recruitment process

The Rajasthan High Court in Jaipur has dismissed a series of court cases challenging the process of recruiting district judges.

In this case, all the applicants here failed to make a mark during the preliminary examination. They were not pre-selected and did not qualify for the main exam.

Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Judge Sudesh Bansalruled,

“Overall, we find that the exercise undertaken by the specially constituted committee which resulted in a well-reasoned report touching on the chord on each contentious issue, and whose report was accepted by the review committee, n ‘calls no interference.’

In particular, the respondents submitted the report of the special committee including the examination of the representations of the applicants in the coverage of the seal hunters. The court observed that posting the answers to the questions and entertaining portrayals of the contestants was the first step in the right direction. If candidate participation was thus encouraged in the process of making the selection more transparent, there was no reason why consideration of such representations should not also be made public, the court added.

In this regard, the court further felt that this would be a further step towards transparency in the selection process. The court also added that at least at the time of the challenge, the relevant part of the report should have been included in the response so that the petitioners could deal with it.

The court observed that instances where the exam board was forced to change the correct answer or delete the question should be kept to a minimum. The court also noted that the expert bodies should not make multiple errors in setting up the questionnaires that eventually forced them to delete several questions. The court added that the question and its multiple choices must be sufficiently clear to allow no ambiguity.

In these petitions, the petitioners raised the following three grounds of challenge and responded accordingly:

(1) According to the 2010 regulations, 15 times the notified vacancies would be called for a main examination, but for 85 notified vacancies, 1275 candidates were to be invited against 1015.

(2) No separate cut-off mark is prescribed for general candidates.

The court observed that the insufficient number of qualified candidates for the main written examination was due to the shortage of candidates belonging to certain categories. The tribunal noted that if there is a shortage of candidates in a particular category, whether reserved or not and therefore in the total number of candidates who move on to the next level of the recruitment process, namely the main examination writing, there is a lack, it cannot be characterized as a departure from the procedure prescribed in the Regulations or in any other irregular or illegal manner. The court also found that the explanation provided by the respondents regarding the fact that no separate cut-off mark was prescribed for the female candidate was also acceptable.

It was pointed out by the court that in the general category, more than 15 times the number of vacancies notified for female applicants were already qualified. Prescribing possible cut-off marks would perhaps reverse the trend and limit the number of candidates in this category, the court observed. The court held that the requirement to prescribe thresholds for this category had therefore become superfluous because of this development.

(3) The petitioners challenged the removal of six questions by the examination committee and argued that the decision to continue with a question which they believed had no correct choice was wrong.

Relying on a series of judgments of the Supreme Court, the court observed that judicial review of the decision of the examining body, whether in the field of education or in recruitment to the civil service, is extremely limit. The court held that when the review is conducted by an expert body and the disputed issues are considered by a specially constituted committee of experts, the courts are extremely slow to interfere with the decisions of these bodies. Unless it is pointed out that there is a flagrant error or that an irrational decision has been rendered, the Court, in exercising its jurisdiction over writs under sections 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, would not interfere, the Court observed.

In addition, the court independently reviewed each question as well as the committee’s recommendations and observed that in each case the committee considered the position correctly and whenever it was found that the question was ambiguous or that the multiple choice in the question documents did not present one and only one clear and correct answer, it was recommended to remove these questions.

Other observations of the Court

The court noted that clause (2) of section 233 provides that a person who is not already in the service of the Union or the State cannot be appointed as a district judge unless he has been during at least seven years old barrister or litigator and is recommended by the High Court for appointment. The court also declined to address this issue, as an allegation was raised without giving specific examples or additional details regarding the participation of disqualified contestants.

The court relied on Chandra Mohan vs. UP State [(1967) 1 SCR 77], in which it was held that the expression “the service” appearing in paragraph 2 of article 233 must be considered as judicial service. This point of view in the case of Dheeraj Mor Vs. Delhi High Court [(2020) 7 SCC 401]observed the court.

Furthermore, the court rejected the argument raised by the petitioner regarding the authorization of up to 50 legal advisers by the defendants during the preliminary examination, on the grounds that no details of the alleged legal advisers had been disclosed. supplied. Whether these legal advisers serve the government and, if so, in what capacity is also not specified, the court added.

Case Title: Rajkamal Basitha v. High Court of Rajasthan, Jodhpur and Related Cases