[Sansad TV] Perspective: All India Judicial Service

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)


  • There were reports of the Centre renewing attempts to build consensus with state governments and High Courts on setting of the AIJS.
  • However the government recently informed Parliament that only 2 states – Haryana and Mizoram, and two high courts, Tripura High Court and Sikkim High Court, are in favour of creating the AIJS.
  • As per govt data on High Courts, 13 have opposed the proposal, six have sought changes in it and others have not responded.

All India Judicial Service (AIJS): A backgrounder

  • The AIJS is a reform push to centralize the recruitment of judges.
  • It would work at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states.
  • In the same way that the UPSC conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, judges of the lower judiciary are proposed to be recruited centrally and assigned to states.

This idea has been debated in legal circles for decades, and remains contentious.

How are district judges currently recruited?

  • Articles 233 and 234: These articles deal with the appointment of district judges, and place it in the domain of the states.
  • State PSC: The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned HC since HCs exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state.
  • Interview by HC judges panelists: They interview candidates after the exam and select them for an appointment.

Why has the AIJS been proposed?

The idea was to ensure:

  • Efficient subordinate judiciary
  • Address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states
  • Fill vacancies faster
  • Ensure standard training across states

Beginning of the debate

  • The idea of a centralized judicial service was first proposed in the Law Commission 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
  • It was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
  • In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.

What is the judiciary’s view on the AIJS?

  • 1992: the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up an AIJS in All India Judges’ Assam. vs Union of India
  • 1993: In review of the judgment, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
  • 2017: The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism”.

Need for AJIS

  • Huge vacancy of judges and delay in recruitment: Currently there are about 5400 vacant posts in lower judiciary across the country and a pendency of 2.78crore cases in lower judiciary.
  • Dearth of good quality judicial officers: The ever continuing decline in their qualityhas led to decline in the competence of overall judiciary.
  • Lack of finances: State judicial services are not attractive for ‘best talents’ due to low salaries, rewards and compensations by the state governments.
  • Lack of specialized training: Adjudication is a specialization which requires state of the art training institutes and professors but state institutes don’t allow such exposure to interns.
  • Discretion of a narrow body: The process of selecting a good judge is a difficult job and should not be left at the discretion of few persons (collegiums) however sagacious they may be.
  • Subjectivity in the process: Current judicial appointments suffer subjectivity, corruption and nepotism on the part of Collegium.

Critical views on AJIS

  • Blow to federalism: AJIS is seen as an affront to federalism and an encroachment on the powers of states granted by the Constitution.
  • Language of Business: Language and representation, for example, are key concerns highlighted by states. Judicial business is conducted in regional languages, whi ch could be affected by central recruitment.
  • Quotas: A “national exam” risks shutting out those from less privileged backgrounds from being able to enter the judicial services.
  • Separation of power: The opposition is also based on the constitutional concept of the separation of powers.
  • Not a complete remedy: Additionally, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS will not address the structural issues plaguing the lower judiciary.
  • Mismanaged legal education: Curriculum followed by law universities, overseen by Bar Council of India, lacks effective standards barring few National Law Universities.

Other limitations of AJIS

  • Legacy issues unaddressed: AIJS addresses neither the problem of disproportionately low pay nor unavailability of adequate judicial infrastructure in states nor the lack of career advancement.
  • Problem of local laws and customs: AIJS does not take into account the problem of local laws, practices and customs which vary widely across States, thus increasing the costs of training for judges selected through the mechanism.
  • Unnecessary bureaucratization: The argument that the centralization of recruitment processes through the UPSC automatically leads to a more efficient recruitment process is flawed and not a guarantee of a solution.

Why is the government seeking to revive the idea of AIJS?

  • The government has targeted the reform of the lower judiciary in its effort to improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
  • It will act as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.
  • AIJS is a step in the direction of ensuring an efficient lower judiciary.

Centre’s argument for AJIS

  • The government has cited IAS officers’ examples.
  • It has argued that if a central mechanism can work for administrative services — IAS officers learn the language required for their cadre — it can work for judicial services too.

Way forward

In its report on Strategy for New India @75 which defines objectives for 2022-23, Niti Aayog suggested that

  • An all-India judicial services examination on a ranking basis can be considered to maintain high standards in the judiciary
  • There is a need to facilitate the availability and usage of video-conferencing facilities to assist in speedy access to justice and to minimize logistical issues.
  • To maintain judicial independence, the cadre should report to the Chief Justice in each High Court.

The Supreme Court has recently suggested the establishment of the National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC)  for the modernization of judicial infrastructure. This is also another welcome move in reforming India Judiciary.


  • If we want to create a robust judicial system at the subordinate level, the constitution of an Indian judicial service is a sound idea.
  • Only a meritocratic service with a competitive recruitment, high-quality uniform training and assured standards of probity and efficiency would be able to ensure speedy and impartial justice in India.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch