Editorial 1 : Time for action


  • The next fortnight will see world leaders, industrialists, activists, and indigenous peoples converge at the 28th edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP). This annual affair is an attempt to inch ahead on getting at least 190 countries, all members of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCCC), to act on weaning their economies off fossil fuels.

Goal of UNFCCC Conference of Parties:

  • The current goal is to make good on a collective commitment made by countries in Paris, in 2015, to strive to hold global temperatures to no higher than 1.5°C above pre industrial levels by the end of the century and definitely below 2°C.
  • Despite countries unanimously agreeing that humanity will collectively bear a huge price if these limits are breached, and nearly all major economies are framing grand national plans to show how they are doing ‘their bit’, the science says that instead of being cut 8% annually, emissions have grown 1.2% from 20212-2.
  • At this rate, the world will warm 2.53°C by the end of the century. There have already been 86 instances just this year of global temperatures breaching the dreaded 1.5°C threshold.

Principles of climate action:

  • In the nearly three decades of COP meetings, the major economies have agreed on three broad principles.
  1. Countries that rapidly industrialised in the 20th century have disproportionately emitted more carbon than their ‘fair share’ given the population sustained.
  2. Economic growth premised on fossil fuel consumption, while cheaper per unit than renewable energy, spells disaster.
  3. Developing countries and those with minimal industrial infrastructure today must be compensated for adopting costlier, but cleaner, non-fossil fuel sources for growing their economies.
  • There is also a consensus that the countries already weathering climate disasters must be compensated and also paid to bolster their infrastructure.
  • However, getting all countries to actually act on these principles is onerous given the mutual suspicion, the spirit of deglobalisation, and the fear of political reprisal that heads of governments face within their constituencies.
  • These themes are expected to play out this year too. Two major issues are expected to take the stage: the conclusion of the Global Stocktake and the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund (L&D Fund or LDF). However, there is no clarity on the size of the fund and the individual contributions by countries.
The L&D Fund is based on the “polluters pay principle“ which says that the polluter is liable for paying the cost of remedial action and compensation for the victims of environmental damage caused by their actions. The developed nations, which are mostly responsible for industrial emissions, must pay the poorer nations that have made negligible contribution to global warming.At UNFCCC COP 27 in Egypt in 2022, it was agreed that the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) must be provided to nations vulnerable to or impacted by climate change consequences. COP 28 is expected to finalise and declare the rulebook on the LDF.


  • While COPs, by nature, are self congratulatory when all they deliver are agreements with elaborate caveats, COP28 must strive to live up to its declared goal of being a conclave that compels its signatories to take definitive action.

Editorial 2 : A non-starter


  • Good intentions do not always make for sound policy. President Droupadi Murmu’s suggestion that the creation of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) will help diversify the judiciary by allowing bright youngsters from varied backgrounds to become judges through a merit based process revives the debate on whether a national system of recruitment at the district judge level is desirable.

All India Judicial Service (AIJS) :

  • AIJS is a proposed service at all India level, on same lines as IAS, IPS etc, to recruit and nurture talented individuals into judicial service, ensuring representation from underrepresented social groups.
  •  Currently, under Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution, states manage district judge appointments. State Public Service Commissions conduct recruitment, supervised by High Courts.
  • The idea of AIJS has been part of discussions on official policy in the Union government for years. However, as the Union Law Minister disclosed last year in the Rajya Sabha, there is no consensus on the proposal. Only two High Courts agreed to the idea, while 13 were against it.

Advantages/ need for AIJS:

  1. Clear pendency of cases: The lower judiciary faces about 5400 vacancies and a backlog of 2.78 crore cases.
  2. Financial Incentives: State services often fail to attract top talent due to lower salaries.
  3. Training and Subjectivity: State-run institutions lack adequate training resources;
  4. Prevent favouritism and nepotism in selection of judges: current appointments are marred by subjectivity and nepotism.
  5. Ensure quality of justice: The declining quality of judicial officers necessitates a better mode of recruitment.
  6. Other advantages: AIJS aims to enhance judicial efficiency, standardise compensation, expedite recruitment, and ensure uniform training.

Arguments against AIJS:

  • The AIJS may not be the panacea it appears to be. The current system of recruitment of district judges through the respective High Courts and other subordinate judicial officers through public service commissions is more conducive to ensuring diversity, as there is scope for both reservation and a clear understanding of local practices and conditions.
  • Unlike the civil service, judges are not assisted by an experienced lower bureaucracy in decision making, and they require to be well versed in the issues involved for judicial functioning.
  • Article 312 of the Constitution, as amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, provides for the creation of an AIJS, and requires a resolution adopted by the Council of States with two thirds majority, and a parliamentary law. This Constitution recognises that rules governing the subordinate judiciary in the States will have to be superseded by a central law for this proposal to achieve fruition. It is unlikely that all States will agree to one more subject from their domain being consumed by centralisation.
  • On the face of it, it may appear that a national service for judges not inferior to the post of district judges, with a superannuation age of 60, will be an attractive proposition for young lawyers to apply for it. However, it cannot be forgotten that legal education lacks country wide uniformity.
  • After enrolling, lawyers typically consider judicial service based on practical experience rather than academic brilliance. Toppers, especially from the few elite law schools, are unlikely to sit for a national judicial service recruitment examination. In comparison, options such as litigation, joining law firms and going into the corporate sector will appear more beneficial.
  • Further, given that the number of district judges elevated to the High Courts is much lower than those from the Bar, the lack of certainty on career progression may also render a national judicial service unattractive.


  • The idea of AIJS has been recommended over the years by many law commissions, Parliamentary panels, and recently, by NITI Aayog as well. Parliament and the Supreme Court should together deliberate on the merits and demerits of the same and take a policy decision.