The Supreme Court held that members of lower judiciary like magistrates and civil judges are not eligible for direct recruitment to posts of district judges, a route meant exclusively for advocates having seven years continued practice. A bench of justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S Ravindra Bhat unanimously interpreted Article 233 of the Constitution which deals with the appointment of district judges. Article 233 sub clause 2 states that a person who is already in the service of the Union or of the State shall not be eligible to be appointed as a district judge. Advocates should be in practice in the immediate past for seven years and must be in practice while applying on the cut-off date fixed under the rules and should be in practice as an advocate on the date of appointment. The purpose is recruitment from bar of a practising advocate having minimum seven year's experience. The top court overruled a Patna High Court verdict of 2016 which allowed the in-service judicial officers to compete with the lawyers for post of district judge saying the law was not laid down correctly.
Magistrates, civil judges not eligible for district judges post through direct recruitment: SC
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