MP High Court Informs Supreme Court: No Enforcement of 3-Year Practice or 70% LLB Marks Requirement for Civil Judge Exam 2023

Madhya Pradesh HC Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: December 17, 2023 at 00:01 IST

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has conveyed to the Supreme Court that all candidates, irrespective of fulfilling the condition of a minimum 3-year practice at the bar post-enrollment or securing 70% marks in the LLB exam, will be allowed to participate in the upcoming Civil Judge Junior Division (Entry Level) Recruitment exam scheduled for December 18, 2023.

The Supreme Court, in response to this submission by the High Court, has provisionally granted permission to all candidates, even those who haven’t approached the Court, to take part in the examination. This decision is contingent upon the resolution of ongoing petitions challenging the validity of the aforementioned requirements, currently under consideration by the MP High Court.

On June 23, 2023, the Madhya Pradesh High Court introduced an amendment to the Madhya Pradesh Judicial Service (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1994.

This amendment, under Rule 7 (g), mandated a minimum of 3 years of practice at the bar after enrollment, including at least 6 appearances or order sheets, as a prerequisite for eligibility. Alternatively, candidates failing to meet this practice criterion were required to score a minimum of 70% (50% for SC/ST in the General category) Cumulative Grade Point Average in their initial attempt, without any backlogs or ATKT during the entire academic course.

Challenging these requirements, two lawyers filed petitions before the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Despite the deadline for application being December 18, 2023, the High Court declined to grant provisional leave to the petitioners for the exams scheduled on January 14, 2024.

Subsequently, a Special Leave Petition was filed in the Supreme Court, along with Writ Petitions challenging the amendments.

Senior Advocate Dr. S. Murlidhar, representing the High Court, informed the bench comprising Justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan that the High Court would permit all candidates to participate in the Civil Judge Junior Division (Entry Level) Recruitment Examination 2022, based on the eligibility criteria that existed before the amendment on June 23, 2023.

To ensure timely communication, it was further proposed that a corrigendum be issued and widely publicized in daily newspapers on the same day, ensuring that no candidate misses the opportunity to apply before the submission deadline of December 18, 2023.

The bench disposed of the Special Leave Petition, stating, “In view of the statement made by learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the High Court, we provisionally permit all the candidates to fill up the Application Forms (including those who have not approached the court) and provisionally permit to participate in the Preliminary and written examination, subject to the outcome of the challenge to the vires of Rules before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.”

Representing the petitioners, Senior Advocates N.K. Mody, S.K. Gangele, and Raju Ramachandran, along with Advocate Gaurav Agarwal and AoR Siddhartha Iyer, argued that the reintroduction of this eligibility criteria amendment in the 1994 rules, which had been previously discarded, is unjust.

The case is expected to be heard by the Madhya Pradesh High Court and possibly concluded by the end of February 2024.

Case Details: Monika Yadav & Ors v. High Court of Madhya Pradesh & Anr. WP(C)no. 1380 of 2023 with Tejas Tripathi & Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr. WP(C)no.1398 of 2023

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