The Telangana High Court has upheld constitutional validity of Rule 5(1)(a) of the Telangana State Judicial Service and Cadre Rules, 2023, which outlines the eligibility criteria for direct recruitment to the post of District Judge in Telangana.

Rule 5(1)(a) is about eligibility for Direct Recruitment as District Judges (Entry Level) and the same reads thus: One who has been practicing as an advocate in the High Court or Courts working under the control of the High Court for not less than seven years as on the date of the notification. Rule 2(k) reads: High Court means and includes High Court for the State of Telangana with effect from 02.06.2014

Thus, advocates as well as public prosecutors practising in States other than State of Telangana are ineligible for recruitment to the Post of District Judge in the State of Telangana.

In that context, the Bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice T Vinod Kumar observed that, "no factual foundation has been laid in the pleadings with regard to challenge to validity of Rule 5(1)(a) of 2023 Rules. Even otherwise, the Rule has been enacted to ensure suitable and proper persons in the judicial service with a view to secure fair and efficient administration of justice and the Rule Making Authority is competent to prescribe qualifications for eligibility for appointment. The object of enactment of the aforesaid Rule is to recruit suitable candidates to Telangana State Judicial Service who are acquainted with the practice of local Courts in Telangana and have the knowledge of local laws."

With that background, it was held that, "in the absence of any pleading, the challenge to the constitutional validity of a provision has to be rejected in limine".

Counsel C Ramachandra Raju and others appeared for the petitioners, while Senior Counsel G Vidya Sagar appeared for the respondent.

In this case, certain advocates and Additional Public Prosecutors in Andhra Pradesh, sought to quash the order that rejected their applications for recruitment to the position of District Judge in Telangana. They also sought a declaration that Rule 5(1)(a) of the Telangana State Judicial Service and Cadre Rules, 2023, be deemed arbitrary and discriminatory.

The government notification issued on 12.04.2023 outlined the recruitment process, and the eligibility criteria, as per Paragraph 4, which required a practicing advocate with a minimum of seven years' experience in the High Court or subordinate courts. The Single Judge rejected their candidature based on Rule 5(1)(a), leading to the filing of the writ petitions.

The High Court observed that the ground of challenge must be based on a factual foundation, and to attract Article 14, necessary facts must be pleaded. In that context, it was said that, "It is trite law that a party invoking protection of Article 14 has to make an averment with details to sustain such a plea and has to adduce the material to establish allegations made and the burden is on the party to plead and prove that its right under Article 14 of the Constitution of India has been infringed."

Holding that no factual foundation had been laid in the pleadings with regard to challenging the validity of the impugned Rule, the Court dismissed the petitions.

Cause Title: Bodugula Brahmaiah & Ors. vs State of Telangana

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