Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday suggested a national-level entrance test for talented young law students aspiring to join the subordinate judiciary, PTI reported. However, he clarified that he was not pitching a judiciary service on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Police Service.

Prasad said neither the Centre nor state governments were responsible for the nearly 5,000 vacancies for judicial officers across the country, reported Hindustan Times. He said an all-India examination would allow a pool of young lawyers graduating every year from law universities to get into the judicial service. “It should be a robust all-India competition to get the best talent,” Prasad said.

Serving judicial officers can also appear in such an exam, which could be conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, he said. At present, high courts and state public service commissions make appointments to the lower judiciary.

Referring to the disagreements of four top judges of the Supreme Court with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Prasad said the judiciary had enough “foresight and statesmanship” to settle its differences. “I would urge the political process to remain as immune as possible from this process,” he said. “Judges will come, judges will go, but the institution of judiciary has to remain. And we must respect their institutional integrity.”

Prasad also spoke about the controversy surrounding the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court. “Even in the collegium system [of appointing judges], the right of the government to seek reconsideration and provide inputs is recognised,” Prasad said.

In April, the government did not approve the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Joseph. A month later, the collegium said that “further deliberation” and “broad-based consideration” of names of High Court Chief Justices was required before sending its reiteration to the Centre on promoting Joseph to the top court.