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Process to raise retirement age of HC judges starts

After years of deliberations,the Ministry of Law and Justice has finally initiated the process of increasing the retirement age of judges of the High Courts...

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi |
June 10, 2010 12:50:57 am

After years of deliberations,the Ministry of Law and Justice has finally initiated the process of increasing the retirement age of judges of the High Courts from the present 62 years to 65 years.

Once this happens,judges of High Courts would retire at the same age as those in the Supreme Court. Sources told The Indian Express that there is no move to raise the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court.

A Cabinet note prepared by the Justice Department was circulated last week among some ministries such as Finance and Personnel for comments.

“Once we receive the comments,we will incorporate the same in the file and take the matter to the Cabinet for approval. We don’t anticipate any objections,” said a senior functionary of the Justice Department.

When contacted,Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily confirmed the move.

It is learnt that the Ministry intends to introduce a Constitutional amendment Bill in the next session of Parliament. “Increasing the retirement age of High Court judges will require a constitutional amendment which needs two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament,” said a Ministry official.

The appointment and retirement of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts is governed by Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution and the government will have to get the Bill passed by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament in order to effect the increase.

Incidentally,during the recently-concluded session of Parliament,Moily had said there was no move “at present” to increase the retirement age of HC judges.

The Justice Venkatachaliah Committee to Review the Working of the Constitution,while dealing with the subject of members of the superior judiciary,had recommended 68 years as the retirement age for Supreme Court judges and 65 years for High Court judges.

Sources said one reason for the government move is that an increase in the retirement age of HC judges would also address the issue of shortage of HC judges,with over 250 of the total 895 sanctioned posts vacant across the country.

Last year,the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel,Public Grievances,Law and Justice had also recommended that the retirement age of HC judges be brought at par with judges of the Supreme Court.

A few years ago,responding to a communication from the Law Ministry,the Finance Ministry had said that while it had no problem if the retirement age of HC judges was increased to 65 years,it was opposed to any move to further raise the retirement age of Supreme Court judges.

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