Recently, within a few days, news came out from the source that the Union Law Minister has called a meeting with the Law Ministers of various states at the end of this month. It is calculated, that there would be an attempt to reach an agreement with all the states to carry out the “All India Judicial Services” (AIJS).
We already know why AIJS is an agitating topic in news! Now let us see the concept/ idea of AIJS.
Introduction of AIJS
AIJS is a reform of the Indian Judiciary System, which evolved to centralize the recruitment of additional district judges and judges at the level of district judges.
For AIJS, the nomination of the district judges will occur after imparting training through a central-level examination. These appointment patterns are similar to administrative officers' appointments, which are supervised by Union Public Service Commission.
The examination of AIJS maybe also, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.
A notable constitutional article that plays a vital role in the AIJS
“According to Article 233 of the constitution, there is a provision for the appointment of district judges by the Governor in consultation with the High Court and the judicial appointment of the rest of the subordinate judiciary will be done by the Governor but in consultation with the state public commission of the state. (In practice, these rest appointments are done through PCS (j) exam medium). Article 233 lays down the appointment of district judges within the jurisdiction of the states. Central has no right on this area.”
“In the 42nd constitutional amendment of 1976, it tell about AIJS. Article 312 (3) (1), there is nothing mentioned about the appointment of the below posts of district judges."
Beginning of AIJS
The idea of AIJS came into being in 1958 by the proposal of the 14th report of the Law Commission. Discussions were held on a statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standardized, centralized examination for the recruitment and training of judges.
After this, in 1978, the Law Commission again proposed the judiciary reform idea and, this time, the reason was the increasing number of pending cases, which seemed to be a relatively enormous issue of the judiciary.
In 1992, the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association vs. Union of India directed the center to set up an AIJS, but, later in 1993, this matter was entirely dependent on the central government.
In 2006, the Parliament Standing Committee, on its 15th, endorsed the idea of an All India Judicial Service. They also prepared a draft bill.
This was the place where AIJS was discussed for judiciary reform but unfortunately not reaching any conclusion and, this is also a reason for not implementing AIJS until today.
How AIJS is helpful for the judiciary
AIJS supporters say that AIJS will make sure that an efficient subordinate judiciary, discusses structural issues, fill up vacancies quickly, and make sure standard training across the states. Through AIJS, the backward classes and women will get better representation in the judiciary system. It will also attract talented people to become a part of the district judiciary, which will help in improving the quality of subordinate’s judiciary.
There is a dearth of judges in proportion to the population. A Law Commission report (1987) recommended that India should have 50 judges per million population as against 10.50(then). Presently, there are 21 judges per million people of India, but another side when we compared this data with the US or UK – 107 and 51 judges per million people of there. This data shows India has a tremendous need for judges to sort out the problem of pending cases.
Now the question arises that if AIJS is greatly helpful for tackling judiciary-related problems, then why it has not been accomplished till-date? We will get the answer to this in the argument of the opposition who criticized AIJS.
Criticism of AIJS
Knowing that these reforms of AIJS are required, for the Indian Judiciary System, yet it has been condemned due to the flaws of the central and state governments.
The first argument of critics is that it creates a dilemma of a conflict between Article 233 and Article 213. Where Article 233 lays down the power to appoint district judges within the authority of the state, however, Article 213 is seen giving power to the center under the 42nd constitution amendment. These two articles complicate things a lot and this leads to a tussle between the center and the state over the power to appoint district judges. The state always has the notion that the center wants to snatch its powers by interfering in the jurisdiction.
Its second critique is that it creates a linguistic barrier. We all know very well that the work of the subordinate judiciary is executed, in the local language. Since many languages are used in India, so it is difficult for a person of one language area to go to another language area and work in the local language of that area.
According to the states, due to AIJS implementation, the reservation given by the state based on caste is likely to be affected and, backward classes are easy to compete in the state level exam, but they will find it hard to compete in the center level AIJS exam. AIJS may cut the role of backward classes in the judiciary.
AIJS topic also distracts the attention of some crucial issues of judiciary. Considering AIJS as the solution to every problem in the judiciary, AIJS is being emphasized much that problems like judicial structural issues are not being expressed.
AIJS is a constitutional limitation that applies only to the appointment of district judges. But the pending cases are primarily near the posts below the district judge. So how will it help resolve all the pending prosecutions till the same AIJS will not apply to the posts below the district level judge?
The provision of separation of power in the Indian Constitution has contemplated a blast. As in this indirect way, the executive appears to be interfering in the judiciary.
Everything has both good and bad sides and, every reform takes time for its implementation. In the same way, AIJS also abides by the same. When we look carefully at this issue of AIJS implementation, then we reveal, that the intensest problem in this is about the power distribution between the center and the state, which is the biggest reason for not being able to carry out AIJS. Here it is essential for both the center and state to trust and negotiate with each other and come with one beneficial solution for both of them, the judiciary, and people as soon as possible. If the state has any doubts about AIJS, then the center will have to remove it, and if needed, some modifications must be brought about, in AIJS also.
Apart from this, it is also necessary to focus on other reforms in this judiciary, such as structural reform of the judiciary, issue of fewer participation women in the judiciary and the problem of vacant vacancy/position in Supreme Court or High Court, etc. These serious issues cannot be resolved through AIJS, for this separate work is needed. In the Indian Judiciary, it is necessary to show a decent future/career which encourages people to be a part of it, and, at the same time, the public should also have faith in the judiciary.
However, in front of us, there is no clear view that this time AIJS will be successfully implemented that this time AIJS will be successfully implemented or not but, it will be a matter to be seen that in this meeting the Law Ministers get reached any conclusion of AIJS.
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