A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice C. Praveen Kumar held Rule 5(2)(a)(i) of the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules, 2007 as unconstitutional.
The rule stipulated that a person seeking appointment as a civil judge must be practising as an advocate for not less than three years as on the date of publication of the advertisement in newspapers.
The court declared that every candidate holding a law degree awarded by any recognised university was eligible for the position of junior civil judge, and said it struck down the additional qualification of three years of practise as an advocate imposed by the amended rule in view of an earlier Supreme Court decision, which is binding on all the High Courts as provided under Article 141 of the Constitution.
Further, the court directed the Registry to issue a fresh notification inviting applications for general recruitment to 68 posts of junior civil judge in the AP State Judicial Service, comprising 55 vacancies to be filled through direct recruitment and the remaining 13 to be filled under recruitment by transfer.
It has been further adjudicated in a batch of writ petitions which challenged the above rule, that all the candidates who appeared for the screening test held on February 21, 2021 in pursuance of the notification dated December 3, 2020 were entitled to appear in the fresh recruitment process on the basis of their applications submitted earlier.
Eligible persons who had not responded to the earlier notification dated December 3, 2020 were also entitled to participate in the fresh recruitment process.