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Court demotes judicial officers

Ranchi, Feb. 6: Jharkhand High Court today set aside the promotion of as many as 22 senior judicial officers.

The high court demoted these 22 judicial officers (senior division) who were promoted to the post of district and additional sessions judges in the lower courts across the state last year.

A division bench of Chief Justice R. Banumathi and R.R. Prasad delivered the judgment in a writ petition filed by judicial officer Chandrika Ram and others. The bench held that the promotions were contrary to the provisions of equality mentioned in the Constitution.

Ram along with 92 other judges (senior division) were shortlisted for promotion in accordance with Jharkhand Recruitment, Appointment and Conditions of Service in respect of Jharkhand Higher Judicial Service governed by Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service (Recruitment, Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules.

The court had then recommended the names of 22 candidates for promotion to the government that issued a notification in this regard on October 8, 2013.

The petitioners challenged the promotion on the ground that the interview round conducted by the high court had 50 marks and a suitability test had the rest 50 marks. The petitioner contended that providing 50 per cent weightage was against the orders of the Supreme Court and the constitutional mandate of a fair and equal chance in government appointment.

Today, the court not only set aside the promotion, but also directed the high court registry to take steps for amendment of the rules.

HC on life convicts

Jharkhand High Court today initiated a suo motu public interest litigation in relation to life convicts lodged in jails across the state.

Prisoners serving life terms in Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Palamau central jails had been on a hunger strike for the last couple of days to demand remission of sentence.

According to norms, a life convict gets a chance to seek release after serving 14 years. The remission is granted by the state government.

However, these protesting prisoners alleged that the state had been sitting on their applications for a long time.

Advocate-general Jai Prakash has been summoned to inform the stand of the government. The case will be heard tomorrow.

Meanwhile, chief minister Hemant Soren has announced a meeting on Friday to decide on the pending applications.