Guwahati HC Upheld minimum Age Requirement for Appointment of District Judges in the State

Guwahati High Court Law Insider

Khushi Gupta

Published on: April 4, 2022 at 20:49 IST

A Bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia held that Rule 7 of the Assam Judicial Service Rules of 2003 that provides age criteria for Appointment of Grade-1 Judicial Officers in the State as at least 35 is reasonable.

The High Court found that the age criteria have a rational outlook that ensured that the candidates have both maturity and experience to become District Judges.

It also took different Precedents like Madras Bar Association and Devina Sharma into consideration to Observe that the State is not disentitled to prescribe age criterion for District Judges.

The Petitioner, Advocate Pooja Agarwal, had stated in earlier hearings that the said minimum age criteria is Illegal as neither the Constitution nor the Rules in other States provide for the same.

Rule 7 of the Assam Judicial Service Rules provides that for Direct Recruitment, among other qualifications, the candidate must be at least 35 years of age, but under 45.

The Petitioner had argued that this requirement was ‘contrary to Article 233 of the Constitution of India which clearly provides that no person shall be Eligible to be appointed as a District Judge if he has been for not less than 7 years an Advocate or pleader.’

She also argued that there is ‘no rationale’ behind this rule and this Rule Violates Article 14 and Article 15 of the Constitution, as it leads to discrimination on the basis of age as the Law has been laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in a catena of Cases.’

‘It is highly unreasonable that the minimum experience to be appointed as a District Judge is more than that required to be appointed as a High Court Judge,’ the Petitioner claimed, adding that the State’s Rules act as a bar and ‘Disqualifies the Candidate from competing in spite of possessing the requisite experience.’

“Interference by way of Judicial Review in the instant matter is highly warranted since outcome of this Petition has effect on the life of a number of people who are aspiring to be appointed as Grade-I Judicial Officers,” the Plea had concluded.

Also Read: Minimum Age Prescription for District Judge’s Examination Not Contrary to the Constitution: SC

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