The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday directed the State Home Secretary to expedite the process of amending the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service (Cadre and Recruitment) Rules, 2007, and the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, as requested by the Registrar General of the High Court for filling up vacancies in lower judiciary in the State.
A Division Bench of Justices A. Selvam and N. Authinathan issued the interim direction on a public interest litigation filed by advocate R. Silambaraj seeking a direction to the State government, Registrar General of the High Court and Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to conduct examinations for recruitment of civil judges.
During the course of hearing of the case, advocate N. Tamilmani, representing the Registrar General, told the judges that a communication sent by the High Court for amending Schedule II of Rule 5 of the 2007 Rules and Section 101 of the 2016 enactment was pending with the State government and therefore there was a delay in filling up the vacancies.
On the other hand, Special Government Pleader M. Govindan sought time to verify the status of the request made by the High Court for amending the rules and the Act. The judges, however, issued a direction to the Home Secretary to expedite the process making the amendments, complete it as early as possible and report to the court by July 17.
In his affidavit, the petitioner said the annual plan of the TNPSC did not contain any proposal for recruitment of civil judges. He also claimed that the Public Information Officer-cum-Under Secretary of Home (Courts-I) department had expressed ignorance about vacancies in the lower judiciary while replying to an application made under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The PIO had told the petitioner that no information with regard to vacancies in Civil Judges cadre was available with his department and that such details could be obtained only from the Registrar General of the High Court. The officer also said there had been no communication between the High Court and his department in the last three years regarding selection of Civil Judges.
“It is clear that the respondents have not taken any steps to fill the vacancies. Indeed, they have no clear database… ,” the petitioner added.