Supreme Court stalls appointment of Punjab lower court judges

September 22nd, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday refused to permit appointments in the Punjab lower judiciary of some candidates, who had allegedly been selected through an entrance examination tainted by corruption.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan stalled the appointments suspending the May 27 ruling of a bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had allowed posting of some candidates who it said had not resorted to unfair means in the entrance examination.

The apex court bench, which also included, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal, stalled the ruling by the bench of the high court on a plea on behalf of the entire court itself.

The high court bench had held that not all candidates selected in the exam could be said to have adopted unfair means and corruption and only those should be denied appointment against whom criminal proceedings were on.

The high court bench had given its order, rejecting a report of a three-judge committee appointed by it as per an apex court order. The committee had recommended that the entire selection process for appointment of lower court judges in Punjab between 1998 and 2001 was illegal and should be scrapped.

The high court bench, however, had held that only those candidates who were named in the criminal cases could be said to have adopted unfair means.

Accordingly, it had directed that candidates against whom there was no evidence of corruption be appointed to the post of lower court judges.

It was against this order of one of its own benches that the high court had approached the apex court.

On the high court lawsuit, the apex court also issued notices to the Punjab government and the Punjab Public Services Commission.

Appearing for the high court, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said if the examination did not inspire confidence the appointments should not be allowed.

The marking system for the exams for the years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 was doubtful as the committee appointed to probe the allegations of corruption and irregularities found that varying marks had been given to candidates for the same answer.

“The concern of the high court is that the appointments must be above suspicion,” he said adding: “This is a judicial service.”

The law officer told the bench that 20 out of the 58 tainted candidates are going to be appointed.

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