On a day the issue of vacancies in higher judiciary came up for hearing in the Supreme Court, the government today informed the Rajya Sabha that it has no plans to hike the retirement age of apex court and high court judges. “No sir,” was the reply of Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary in the Upper House to a question on whether the government is mulling increasing the age of superannuation for the judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts. While SC judges retire at 65 years, the high court judges retire at 62.
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In his written reply, Chaudhary also ruled out plans to reduce the age limit to 42 years from the present 45 for appointing judges to the high courts. The salaries of judges will be hiked as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, he said. On Wednesday, Chaudhary had informed the Lok Sabha that a UPA bill which sought to increase the retirement age of high court Judges from 62 to 65 years had lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. He, however, was silent on a question on whether the present government would bring afresh bill.
As on November 15, the Supreme Court has five vacancies and the high courts, 427. A total of nearly 3.10 crore cases are pending across India, including 61,436 in the apex court, 38.70 lakh in the high courts and 2.70 crore in lower courts.