Supreme Court held that members of subordinate judiciary can’t claim direct recruitment to the District judge post under quota meant for practicing advocates

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Supreme Court held that members of subordinate judiciary can’t claim direct recruitment to the District judge post under quota meant for practicing advocates

Dheeraj Mor v. High Court of Delhi

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1698 OF 2020 decided on 19.02.2020


Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ


The petitioners who are in judicial service had claimed that in case before they joined judicial service as a candidate, they have completed 7 years of practice as an advocate. Therefore he/she shall be eligible to stake claim as against the direct recruitment quota from the Bar notwithstanding that on the date of application/appointment, he or she is in judicial service of any State.

Question of Law

The   main   question   for   consideration   is   the   interpretation   of Article   233   of   the   Constitution and the question concerning the rules being ultra vires of the   same?

Argument Advanced



The Petitioner argued that the rules framed by various High Courts regarding appointment of District Judges arbitrarily discriminate   between   advocates   and   the   members   of   the   judicial service in the matter of direct recruitment and therefore the rules suffer from arbitrariness.

It was submitted on behalf of Respondent that Article 233(2) contemplates direct recruitment only from the Bar and the person   should   not   be   in   judicial   service   for   the   post   of   direct recruitment. They can only be promoted.


The Court said that members of the judicial service of any State cannot claim to be appointed for vacancies in the cadre of District Judge, in the quota marked for appointment from amongst eligible Advocates, under Article 233.

Opinion Per Justice Mishra and Justice Saran

The members in the judicial service of the State can be appointed as District Judges by way of promotion or limited competitive examination.

Under Article 232(2), an Advocate or a pleader with 7 years of practice can be appointed as District Judge by way of direct recruitment in case he is not already in the judicial service of the Union or a State.

For the purpose of Article 233(2), an Advocate has to be continuing in practice for not less than 7 years as on the cut­-off date and at the time of appointment as District Judge. Members of judicial service having 7 years’ experience of practice before they have joined the service or having combined experience of 7 years as lawyer and member of judiciary, are not eligible to apply for direct recruitment as a District Judge.

The rules framed by the High Court prohibiting judicial service officers from staking claim to the post of District Judge against the posts reserved for Advocates by way of direct recruitment, cannot be said to be ultra vires and are in conformity with Articles 14, 16 and 233 of the Constitution of India.

Justice Bhat, in his separate opinion, agreed with the views expressed by Justice Arun Mishra

Under Article 233, a judicial officer, regardless of her or his previous experience as an Advocate with seven years’ practice cannot apply for post of District Judge.

Judgement Overruled


Vijay Kumar Mishra v. High Court of Judicature at Patna,(2016) 9 SCC 313

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