It is probably for the first time in judicial history that the civil and district judges of Telangana hit the streets, raising slogans and demanding justice for them. Over 130 subordinate judges from across the ten districts of Telangana took out a rally in Hyderabad and submitted a memorandum to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, protesting against allotment of non-local judicial officers for the posts in Telangana.
They gave a deadline and threatened to resign en masse if justice was not served to them within a week. There is an ongoing agitation by the Telangana advocates and judicial employees against the provisional allocation of subordinate judicial officers between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states, post-bifurcation.
At the centre of it all is the provisional allotment of judges to lower courts in both the states.
As per the list, issued on May 5, 335 judicial officers were allotted to Telangana and 495 to Andhra Pradesh. However, out of the 335 in the Telangana pool, 130 officers hail from Andhra Pradesh.
The nativity of judges has become the new battleground even as the two states are still grappling with a host of post-bifurcation disputes. After the division in June 2014, the high court of Andhra Pradesh was rechristened as the Hyderabad high court and has been serving as the top judicial body for both the Telugu states. Though the AP Reorganisation Act provides for setting up of a separate court for Telangana, there has not been much headway on this.
“We cannot work under Andhra judicial rulers. We are afraid of their intervention in political and executive administration of Telangana,” the protesting judges said in a strongly-worded letter addressed to the President of Telangana Judges Association K Ravinder Reddy.
This provisional allocation will hamper the chances of Telangana judges getting elevated to the High Court is what they feel. A delegation of agitating judges met the Governor and urged him to ensure justice by directing the authorities to recall the provisional allotment list.
They pointed out that though Telangana lawyers and judicial employees had been on strike for the last three weeks, the High Court, instead of solving the issue, was trying to threaten the protesters. The number of district judges serving in both states stand at 234. The judges need to be allocated in the 40:60 ratio with 94 district judges for TS and 140 for AP.
The High Court allocated only 84 district judges to AP by keeping 46 posts vacant. It allocated 102 district judges to Telangana in excess of the sanctioned strength of 94 posts.
Out of 102 judges, 72 are from AP and only 30 are natives of Telangana. “It is clear that the High Court purposefully allocated about 20 young direct district judges of AP to Telangana state who will retire only after 2030. This will deprive Telangana officers of their promotional avenues,” the letter said.
The High Court took serious note of the agitation and ordered suspension of the President and Secretary of Telangana Judges Association K Ravinder Reddy and Varaprasad respectively.