Monday, 16 November 2015

Bombay high court; No quotas for persons with disabilities for posts of civil judges and JMFC in Maharashtra

MUMBAI: Reservations are not applicable for judicial posts in Maharashtra, the Bombay high court has ruled. In an important order, a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Rajesh Ketkar rejected a plea that sought implementation of three per cent reservation for persons with disabilities to the posts of civil judges and judicial first class magistrates. 

"The reservation in judiciary service by the state without consulting the high court or without concurrent recommendation of the HC is an encroachment on such exclusive powers," said the judges, while pointing to Supreme Court judgments that had said an "independent judiciary is a basic structure of the constitution and the high court alone can recognise vacancies and the reservation (to judicial posts) even if provided by the state." 

The court was hearing a petition filed by Sushil Sonawane, a practising advocate, who has cerebral palsy. Sonawane had sought implementation of the three per cent reservation that is provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act for the posts of civil judges and JMFCs. "Reservations are provided for all government posts, including that of doctors. Some states also have reservations for judicial posts," said advocate Abhijeet Desai, counsel for Sonawane. The HC pointed out that under the Maharashtra Judicial Service rules, a candidate who secures 50 per cent marks in each paper and 60 per cent marks in aggregate is eligible for viva voce, to be considered for the posts of civil judge and JMFC. The marks criteria is relaxed for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates who secure not less than 45% marks in each paper and not less than 50% of marks in aggregate. "Save and except this concession, there is no reservation for recruitment to the Maharashtra Judicial Service," said the HC. 

With regard to persons with disabilities, the HC administration in 1998 said that all things being equal, preference would be given to such candidates. In 2004, Class 3 and 4 posts were brought under the ambit of reservation, but judicial posts were not covered by the rules. The HC, while rejecting the plea for reservation, allowed candidates with disabilities an extra hour during the examination in case they are not taking the help of a writer for the exams to the post of civil judge and JMFC

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