Judge’s retirement age won’t go up
- The Union Law Ministry has said there was no proposal as of now to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 to 67 and of High Court judges from 62 to 65.
- The Ministry was responding to the recommendation of a Parliamentary Standing Committee that raising the retirement age of judges would help retain the existing judges, which in turn would help in reducing both vacancy and pendency of cases in short run.
- In August 2010, then Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily introduced the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010 in the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill, which sought to increase the retirement age of High Court judges to 65, could not be taken up for consideration in Parliament and lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
Committee’s report and govt’s response
- The committee, in its report tabled in Parliament, raised concern over the large number of vacancies of judges in High Courts.
- The Ministry countered that the appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts is a continuous and collaborative process of the Judiciary and Executive.
- “While every effort is made to fill vacancies expeditiously, vacancies keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of judges and increase in judge strength,” the Ministry said.
- It further stated that the timeline for the initiation of the proposals for filling vacancies is rarely adhered to by the High Courts.
- As of now, out of the total approved strength of 1,079 judges in 24 High Courts across the country, only 695 posts are filled.
Memorandum of procedure
- As per the existing memorandum of procedure (MoP), the judge appointment proposal has to be initiated by the Chief Justice of an High Court six months before the occurrence of vacancy.
- Within six weeks, the Chief Minister/Governor has to recommend on the proposal received from the Chief Justice.
- And within four weeks, the Chief Justice of India/SC Collegium has to recommend the proposal to the Law Ministry.
Point to remember