Putting to rest the controversy surrounding the recruitment of judges’ children in the Delhi subordinate judiciary examination in May, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini has justified the selections and said the entire process was transparent and as per norms.
In a letter to law minister Sadananda Gowda, Justice Rohini said two of the 15 qualified candidates in the Delhi judicial service exam were children of two sitting judges of the HC but “they have qualified on their own and the allegations of favouritism and nepotism are unfounded and unwarranted”.
Considering the matter to be closed for any further investigation, the chief justice wrote that there was no ground for cancelling the selection process. “There is also no rule for revaluation of answer-sheets,” she said. The matter is under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which had earlier sought response from the Delhi HC based on a PIL.
For 80 vacancies in the Delhi subordinate judiciary, more than 9,000 candidates had appeared in the preliminary examination in 2014. At least 614 had appeared for the main examination out of 659 who had qualified the prelims. However, the Delhi HC found that only 15 candidates got the required grades to be invited for an interview. All 15 were selected, including two children of two sitting judges of the HC.
Immediately after the results were announced, complaints were filed with the law ministry with some alleging that deserving candidates were overlooked despite the fact that many of them had topped the judicial services exams of 11 states and at least 64 of them were serving as judicial officers in different states.
Law minister Gowda forwarded these complaints to the chief justice of Delhi HC on June 18 with a letter requesting a probe into allegations of favouritism where kin of two sitting Delhi HC judges were among 15 successful candidates. He also brought to the notice of the CJ the allegation that judges were part of the examination process.
Justice Rohini, in her response, said, “It may at the outset be stated that the allegations of corruption, favouritism and nepotism made in the grievances that were received by your office and enclosed to your letter dated 18th June are absolutely unfounded and baseless.”
She said the “allegation that the answer-sheets were evaluated by sitting judges whose sons/daughters/relatives took the exam is factually incorrect. The evaluation of answer scripts was not done by any of the sitting judges of this court”.
Justice Rohini pointed out that “children of several other judges, both of this court and subordinate courts, as well as the children of retired judicial officers were among the 659 candidates who appeared for the main exam, but except for the above two candidates, none qualified”.
Talking about the transparency maintained in the evaluation process, Justice Rohini said the HC had permitted all those candidates who had applied under RTI Act to inspect their answer-sheets while ruling out any revaluation. She said the Delhi HC had already notified the next judicial service examination and the schedule for the recruitment process had been fixed.