They could not be appointed as Magistrates because the vacancies estimated by the High Court were never notified.
Sixty-six law graduates who cleared written tests and interviews to be selected as Magistrates and underwent year-long training have been relegated to candidate level, and have been asked to compete again if they want to become judges.
As many as 22 of them approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Kerala government and the high court to accommodate them against future vacancies, including those in gram nyayalayas (rural courts), being created by the state government.
The 66 candidates could not be appointed as magistrates because the vacancies estimated by the high court were never notified.
A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit said it was a settled position in law that no state government could fill future vacancies with candidates recruited in the past. “If that is allowed, then a state government can recruit hundreds of persons and keep filling vacancies as and when they arise in future, frustrat ing the subsequent batches of eligible candidates,“ it said.
Senior advocates L Nageswar Rao and V Giri, appearing for the 22 candidates, tried to convince the court. They were supported by the state government, which was represented by senior advocate R Basanta.
But the court asked the Kerala government to show the governor’s approval for creation of the 74 posts when the advertisement for recruitment was issued in March 2013.
Pursuant to the advertisement for posts in the Kerala Judicial Service, the candidates cleared tests, followed by interviews conducted by the high court. “All of them (the 66) successfully completed their training on December 15, 2015.
However, the training was continued as appointments were not made,“ they said. Finding themselves in a tricky situation, they pleaded, “It is understood that enough number of vacancies are available to accommodate all 66 candidates who have completed their training.“
But the bench stuck to its stand that the law did not permit past recruits to be accommodated in future vacancies.
However, giving some relief, it told the state government and the high court that during subsequent recruitments, the 66 candidates, if they wished to compete again, could be given some relaxation in eligibility criteria or some weightage. TNN
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