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Today: Jun 14, 2024

Raising judges’ retirement age could extend service of non-performers: Justice dept to Par Panel

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New Delhi: Increasing the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court judges could extend the years of service of non-performing judges and might have a cascading effect with government employees raising a similar demand, the Department of Justice told a parliamentary panel.

It also said increasing the retirement age of judges would be considered along with measures to ensure transparency and accountability in appointments to the higher judiciary.

In July, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had informed Parliament that there is no proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court judges.

The Department of Justice made a presentation before the parliamentary panel on Personnel, Law, and Justice that is chaired by BJP MP and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi.

The department in the Ministry of Law and Justice made the presentation that comprised details of judicial processes and reforms, including on the possibility of increasing the retirement age of High Court and Supreme Court judges.

“Enhancing the age of retirement might extend benefits in terms of extended years of service in certain non-deserving cases and lead to non-performing and under-performing judges to continue,” the department said in its presentation.

It also suggested that raising the retirement age of judges should be considered along with bringing down pending cases and bringing transparency in the judiciary.

“It would be inappropriate if the increase in retirement age is considered along with other measures to ensure transparency, accountability in the appointments to the higher judiciary, effort to fill up existing vacancies in the district and subordinate judiciary and bringing down arrears of cases pending in courts,” the department said in its presentation.

The department said increasing the retirement age may deprive tribunals of having retired judges as presiding officers or judicial members. It also cautioned that retirement age may have a cascading effect.

“Enhancement of the retirement age of judges will have a cascading effect as government employees at Centre and state level, PSUs, commissions, etc, may raise similar demand. Therefore, this issue needs to be examined in totality,” the department said.

Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65 years, and judges of the 25 high courts in the country retire at 62 years.

The Constitution, 114th Amendment Bill was introduced in 2010 to increase the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years. However, it was not taken up for consideration in Parliament and lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.