Report No. 116
5.5. 40% of the posts in Indian Judicial Service shall be filled in by direct recruitment on the result of a competitive examination and viva voce test. National Judicial Service Commission will make all arrangements for holding a competitive examination year to year. Anyone who has been awarded a degree in law by a recognised university will be eligible to appear at the examination. At present, subject to the universities which have introduced five years' course after higher secondary examination, anyone can obtain a degree in law after he has graduated in any discipline. In fact, there are two facets of a law degree. A two years' course after graduation enables one to obtain a general degree in law but this does not qualify the person for practising as a lawyer. In order to qualify for being enrolled as an advocate, one has also to obtain a degree after one more year's course, called special degree in law.
Till the introduction of five years' course by Bar Council of India, anyone desiring to acquire a degree in law enabling him to enrol as an advocate, had to pass Secondary School Certificate Examination, and lake up three years' degree course in any discipline, and thereafter three years' law degree course. He had thus to spend six years after passing Higher Secondary School Examination. The new curriculum introduced by the Bar Council of India provides for a five years' degree course after higher secondary examination for obtaining a degree in law. He saves one year in new dispensation. Anyone who has obtained a degree in law, in second class, will be eligible to appear at the competitive examination to be held for recruitment to Indian Judicial Service.
In recommending eligibility criterion as merely a degree in law, in second class, which itself is a minimum qualifying standard, we are not unmindful of the suggestion of an outstanding legal academic that a first class in degree of law should be the minimum qualification. There was another suggestion that the candidate must have a Master's degree in law before he should be considered eligible for taking a competitive examination. While these are weighty suggestions which would bring in higher talent, we fear that the field of choice would hereby be unduly curtailed making the choice rather difficult. Even in competitive examination as IAS and IPS, the eligibility criterion is the • graduate's degree. Therefore, while we appreciate the anxiety of persons who made the suggestions, we would like to prescribe a second class degree in law as eligibility criterion.
In the scheme of things, a reasonably intelligent person would be able to acquire degree in law at the age of 22 years. There is nothing objectionable in permitting him to appear at the competitive examination. But an upper age limit must be fixed beyond which no one would be eligible to appear at the examination. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the upper age limit should be fixed at 30 years. The Government, in consultation with National Judicial Service Commission will issue orders made for the benefit of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, women and other handicapped classes with regard to relaxation in upper' age limit, reservation in service and allied matters.