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All India Judicial Service (AIJS)

  Nov 10, 2021

All India Judicial Service (AIJS)

Q What is the context  ?

A The central government is preparing to give a fresh push to the establishment of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) on the lines of the central civil services.

Q What is All India Judicial Service (AIJS) ?


  • The All India Judicial Service (AIJS)  is a reform push to centralize the recruitment of judges.
  • It would work at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.
  • In the same way that the UPSC conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.
  • This idea has been debated in legal circles for decades, and remains contentious.

Beginning of the debate

  • The idea of a centralized judicial service was first proposed in the Law Commission 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
  • It was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
  • In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.

Q How are district judges currently recruited?

  • Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges, and place it in the domain of the states.
  • The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state.
  • Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for an appointment.
  • All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam.

Q Why has the AIJS been proposed?

A The idea was to ensure:

  • Efficient subordinate judiciary
  • Address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states
  • Fill vacancies faster
  • Ensure standard training across states

Q  What is the judiciary’s view on the AIJS?

  • 1992: the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up an AIJS in All India Judges’ Assn. vs Union of India
  • 1993: In review of the judgment, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
  • 2017: The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism”.

Q What is the opposition to the AIJS?

  • Blow to federalism: AJIS is seen as an affront to federalism and an encroachment on the powers of states granted by the Constitution.
  • Language of Business: Language and representation, for example, are key concerns highlighted by states. Judicial business is conducted in regional languages, which could be affected by central recruitment.
  • Quotas: Also, reservations based on caste, and even for rural candidates or linguistic minorities in the state, could be diluted in a central test, it has been argued.
  • Separation of power: The opposition is also based on the constitutional concept of the separation of powers.
  • Not a complete remedy: Additionally, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS will not address the structural issues plaguing the lower judiciary.

Q Why is the government seeking to revive the idea of AIJS?

  • The government has targeted the reform of the lower judiciary in its effort to improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
  • It will act as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.
  • AIJS is a step in the direction of ensuring an efficient lower judiciary.

Q What are Centre’s argument for AJIS ?

  • The government has cited IAS officers’ examples.
  • It has argued that if a central mechanism can work for administrative services  IAS officers learn the language required for their cadre it can work for judicial services too.