Thursday, November 6, 2008

No decision yet on Chief Justice's request to hike pay for judges

The Centre appears to be in no hurry to take a decision on the urgent request of Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan seeking the doubling of the monthly salaries of judges of the higher judiciary. 

Concerned over the pittance of pay for the judges, a major reason for the waning attraction for leading advocates to accept posts of judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court, Justice Balakrishnan had written a letter in July this year to the law ministry pitching for a salary hike. 

The letter stressed the need, especially in the light of huge salary hikes proposed for central government employees by the pay commission, for increasing the salary of the CJI to Rs 1.1 lakh per month from the present Rs 33,000 and Rs 1 lakh for the judges of the SC and CJs of the HCs. It had said a salary of Rs 90,000 per month for the HC judges would be appropriate compensation.

Apart from the increase in the monthly salary, the CJI had also impressed upon the government the need to increase the sumptuary allowance and medical reimbursements for high court judges. "The law ministry is yet to firm up a proposal for placing it before the Cabinet, which will be the first step before a Bill is brought before Parliament to amend the salaries of judges in the higher judiciary," law ministry sources said. 

In April this year during the conference of the Chief Justices of the HCs presided over by the CJI and attended by other judges of the SC, discussions had taken place on an agenda item proposing a 10-fold hike in the salaries of judges of the higher judiciary, but there was no consensus on it. 

The annual conference of the CJs had also debated another agenda item proposing an increase in the retirement age of high court judges from 62 years at present to 65 years. The agenda paper had said the Sixth Pay Commission, for future appointments as chairpersons of regulatory bodies such as SEBI, TRAI, CERC, CCI and IRDA, has recommended a consolidated salary of up to Rs 3 lakh per month.
Source : Times of India.

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