Computer knowledge must for judges: Supreme Court



New Delhi: Judges should have basic computer knowledge at the time of appointment and a candidate who fails to fulfil the requirement can be denied employment, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave passed the ruling while dismissing a Civil Judge aspirant Vijendra Kumar Verma's plea challenging the decision of Uttarkhand Government to reject his candidature after he failed to display basic computer knowledge.

"It is also to be considered that the Indian judiciary is taking steps to apply e-governance for efficient management of courts. In the near future, all the courts in the country will be computerised. In that respect, new judges who are being appointed are expected to have basic knowledge of the computer operation.

"It will be unfair to overlook basic knowledge of computer operation to be an essential condition for being a judge.... Therefore, we are of the considered opinion that requirement of having basic knowledge of computer operation should not be diluted," the Bench said in a judgement.

Verma had challenged the eligibility criteria adopted for direct recruitment of Civil Judges under Rule 8 of Uttarakhand Judicial Service that a candidate apart from a Law degree must possess a thorough knowledge of Hindi in Devanagari script as well as basic knowledge of computer operation.

The aspirant who appeared in the preliminary examination on September 16, 2006 was declared successful. Thereafter, he did reasonably well in the Viva Voce and secured 576 marks in all, well over the 568 marks obtained by other selected candidates.

However, he was not selected as he lacked basic knowledge of computers.

Verma challenged his rejection before the state High Court which dismissed his plea, following which he appealed in the apex court claiming it was unreasonable and no foolproof or transparent method was adopted to test the computer knowledge of the candidates.

Dismissing his appeal, the apex court observed, "We are of the opinion that possessing of basic knowledge of computer operation is one of the criteria for selection and in order to judge such knowledge, an expert on the subject was available at the time when the candidate was facing the Interview Board.

"In order to ascertain the candidate's knowledge of computer operation, he put questions and thereafter he gave remarks that the candidate has sufficient knowledge or that he does not have sufficient knowledge."

The apex court refused to comment over the standard applied by the expert in judging his knowledge as it is "his (expert's) subjective satisfaction".

PTI