Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday batted for establishing an all-India judicial service, with an entrance test conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, to create a pool of trained judicial officers, attract “talented law students” and help SC/ST students (through a reservation process) so as to make the judicial services far more representative than what it is today. This is not a new idea; it came up first in the 1960s and has also been mentioned recently in Niti Aayog’s ‘Strategy For New India @ 75’ report. The report suggested: “The selection process may be entrusted to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for a cadre of lower judiciary judges (first induction level), Indian Legal Service (both centre and states), prosecutors, legal advisors, and legal draftsmen. This will attract young and bright law graduates and help build a new cadre that can enhance accountability in the governance system”. There is no doubt that the Indian legal service has quality challenges. There are also a large number of vacancies in lower courts (5,000 at least). And as the minister said, the judiciary is not representative. A February 2018 study done by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy said since its inception in 1950, the Supreme Court has only seen six women judges (now eight with the elevation of Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee in April and August) and women judges constitute barely 9% of the current working strength in high courts of the country . In 2014, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes demanded that reservations should be provided in the judiciary because of almost no representation for such groups across the judicial services. However, it is not entirely true that there is no reservation in judiciary; some states such as Bihar have reservations in state judiciary.

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