Hyderabad: A big question has emerged before the Hyderabad High Court following the ongoing dispute over appointments to the subordinate judiciary: Does the Constitution allow for a common subordinate judiciary for two states? The advocates fraternity is opposing appointments to the subordinate judiciary without first dividing the judges of lower courts between Telangana and AP. The advocates state that as per Constitution, two or more states could have a common High Court but there is no provision to have a common subordinate judiciary.
The advocates state that there is a separate Chapter — Chapter VI of the Constitution — which exclusively deals with the subordinate judiciary for a state. The dispute arose after the High Court decided to go ahead with the recruitment of civil judges (junior division) in accordance with the notification dated February 2, 2014, issued in the erstwhile AP State Judicial Service.
Senior counsel Sarasani Satyam Reddy and others moved petitions seeking stay of the recruitment of district judges and junior civil judges as well as recruitment by transfer and promotion of judicial officers after the formation of Telangana state. According to the petitioners, Article 214 of the Constitution mandates that there shall be a separate High Court for each State. There can be one High Court for more than one state as per Article 231.
As per Article 233(i), the district judges in the state shall be appointed by the Governor of the state in consultation with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation of such state. Article 234 deals with recruitment of persons other than district judges to the judicial services and states: “Appointment of persons other than district judges to the judicial service of a state in the state shall be made by the Governor of the state in accordance with rules made by him in that behalf after consultation with the State Public Service Commission and with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to such state.”
As per Article 235, the High Court of the concerned state is vested with control over the subordinate court. The High Court cannot take up the recruitment of posts without dividing the subordinate judiciary since it is clearly violative of Articles 233 and 234, advocates said.
Telangana government not to accept AP service rules in recruitments:
The Telangana State government has told the Hyderabad High Court that it would not accept any recruitment under the AP Judicial Service Rules after the appointed day, after the Telangana Judicial Service Rules were drawn up. As per rules, the HC after finalising the recruitment process prepares the list of selected candidates and forwards it to the state government which issues the appointment letters. The HC has made it clear that is going ahead with the recruitment in view of the Supreme Court’s order that it must be completed within six months.
According to Telangana advocate-general K. Ramakrishna Reddy, once the government has formed its own rules, it would not be proper to press for AP Rules on the state.
He was of the opinion that the only option the court would have was to make the Telangana state government sign on the appointment letters against its will under the threat of contempt.
Senior counsel S. Satyam Reddy said the control of the High Court over subordinate courts as per Article 235 is one thing, but recruitment to the subordinate judiciary should be in compliance with Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution. He said, “It is not understood why the subordinate judiciary has not been divided while all other officers, both gazetted and non-gazetted, of the government as also all India service officers have been distributed between the two states.”
He contended that the HC’s action in seeking to recruit junior civil judges without division of the subordinate judiciary was impermissible in law and clearly violative of Articles 233 and 234. Senior counsel G. Vidya Sagar noted that the HC was going ahead with the recruitment based on an interim order of the SC; if the Telangana state government succeeds in the Supreme Court, aspirants would be put to undue hardship.
“In this contentious background, the High Court has to draw an interpretation whether the Constitution allows a common subordinate judiciary for two states, and would it be proper to go ahead with the recruitment as per the rules made in the erstwhile state after the new state has formed its own rules, Mr Satyam Reddy said.
Breakup of the subordinate judiciary.
Subordinate judiciary Telangana Andhra Pradesh
District Judges 38 230
Sr. civil judges 39 150
Jr. civil judges 140 500
Feb. 1, 2014: High Court issues notification to recruit 97 junior civil judges.
Feb 5, 2015: High Court issues notification to recruit 34 junior civil judges.
Nov. 28, 2015: High Court announced results of examinations for 97 junior civil judges posts
Dec. 5, 2015: High Court announces results of examinations for 34 junior civil judges posts
Dec. 20, 2015: Interviews scheduled to commence.
HC: Judicial order can’t be annulled by executive
Maintaining that a judicial verdict cannot be annulled by an executive order, Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao of the Hyderabad High Court ruled that forest officials cannot deny permission for felling trees grown on private lands which do not fall within the buffer zone of the Kawal tiger reserve. The judge was allowing a petition by Mr Sollu Narsaiah and another petitioner challenging the refusal of permission by the divisional forest officer of Adilabad for felling trees in their 11.03 acre land in Survey No.114 of Tharlapadu of Khanapur mandal.
The petitioners said that the DFO refused permission as the land was within the buffer zone of the tiger reserve. They brought to the notice of the court that their father had approached the High Court in 1996 for the same cause in which the High Court ruled that “the notification made available for the perusal of this court by the government pleader purported to have been issued by the government in exercise of its power under Section 4 of the Act does not show the inclusion of Sy. No.114 in the proposed reserved forest.”
They said that the appeal preferred by the state against that order was dismissed by the HC and the earlier order attained finality. The judge and directed the DFO and the range officer concerned to accord permission for felling the growth on the petitioners' land. The judge directed that both the officials shall also pay costs of `10,000 to the petitioners within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
New rules to replace old ones:
The TRS had constituted a high-level committee comprising senior IAS officials to recommend new service rules for state staff to replace the ones drawn up in 1974. The committee recently submitted its draft rules to the law department for approval. “One of the major recommendations was to do away with payment of half-salary for suspended staff for two years in ACB cases. Instead it was proposed to expedite the ACB cases and complete the trial within three months. This will be beneficial for both the government and the employees,” said a GAD official Law minister A. Indrakaran Reddy said the draft rules were being vetted by legal experts.
“The new service rules are aimed at making the Telangana administration more effective and transparent. Many service rules devised in 1974 have become irrelevant now and need to be amended. Since Telangana is a new state, we have the opportunity to draft our own rules to suit our needs and begin afresh,” Mr Reddy said.
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