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Breaking: Executive officers cannot be absorbed as Judges, Supreme Court

Breaking: Executive officers cannot be absorbed as Judges, Supreme Court

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court today held that erstwhile executive officers, who had been acting as judges, cannot be absorbed into the State Judicial Service as judges based on their ad-hoc service.

The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan in an appeal filed by the Gauhati High Court against its own decision.

The origins of this case can be traced back to the year 2002 when three posts of Additional Deputy Commissioners were created. The ADC’s were also granted powers of an ad-hoc Additional Sessions judge, and the appointments to these three posts were made by the Gauhati High Court.

The said appointment was extended from time to time. In 2013, the Fast track courts manned by the respondents were converted to a regular court of Additional District and Sessions judge and the services of the three respondents were dispensed with. The State, for its part, suggested that the erstwhile executive officers, who had been acting as judges be absorbed as Additional District Judges, as per their qualification and designation. This was, however, declined by the High Court.

The respondents were then asked to appear and clear a written examination for absorption into judicial service. This was in accordance with the mandate of the Supreme Court in the case of Brij Mohan Lal v. Union of India. They were later informed that their services had been dispensed with as they had not been able to clear the examination.

This was challenged before the High Court by the respondents. The High Court distinguished the case from the case of Brij Mohan Lal on the ground that the respondents were people who had served for almost ten years as judicial officers, and there was no need for them to undergo the exercise again.

It, therefore, directed the absorption of the respondents into Arunachal Pradesh Judicial Service. Aggrieved by this order, the Gauhati High Court appealed against its own decision in the Supreme Court.

Read the judgment below.