The Union Law Minister has asked the Delhi High Court Chief Justice to look into allegations of “corruption, favouritism and nepotism” in the Delhi Judicial Services exam that was held in the national capital last year.
In a letter dated June 18, 2015, to Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda wrote that his ministry had received complaints about children of sitting Delhi High Court judges being declared successful when judges of the same court were involved in the examination process.
Of the 659 candidates who appeared for the exam for the prestigious post of a Delhi judge, only 15 — a little more than 2 per cent — were declared successful in the results announced on May 1 this year.
Records show that most of the other candidates barely managed to secure qualifying marks while 644 failed by huge margins.
The topper and another successful candidate are daughters of sitting judges of the Delhi High Court, which conducted the exam. The judges of the High Court were also involved in the preparation of question papers, evaluation of answer sheets and the interview process.
In his letter, Gowda wrote that “the Department of Justice has received many grievances alleging corruption, favouritism and nepotism in the recently concluded Delhi Judicial Services Examination, 2014”.
Gowda’s letter, naming the sitting High Court judges whose daughters figure in the list of 15 successful candidates, stated: “The petitioners have alleged that the answer sheets were evaluated by those sitting judges whose sons/daughters/relatives took the exam. It has also been stated that the Delhi High Court failed to give satisfactory reply to their RTI query in this regard.”
Attaching four such complaints along with the letter, Gowda added: “The grievance-holders have requested that a probe in the whole scam be made, this examination be scrapped or answer sheets of all 660 candidates be re-evaluated and final results be declared.”
The letter also highlighted the seriousness of the issue and referred to the outrage that erupted over the results that were declared last month.
The preliminary round of the exam was held on June 1, 2014 and the Mains were conducted on October 10-11 to fill up 80 vacancies of district and sessions judges in Delhi.
”(The) Department of Justice has recently forwarded a couple of similar grievances to Registrar General of the Delhi High Court for taking action, as appropriate. I, however, thought it fit to bring the matter to your notice for action, as appropriate,” Gowda wrote.
Despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express, High Court Chief Justice Rohini and registrar in charge of the Chief Justice’s office H C Suri were unavailable for comment.
Incidentally, the Delhi Judicial Service exam in 1990 was cancelled over complaints of bias and nepotism after a group of lawyers and aspirants protested against the selection of candidates related to sitting judges of the High Court.
The exam was re-conducted in 1991 and many candidates, who could not pass in the previous year, were declared successful. Many of them are still serving as district and sessions judges in Delhi courts.