Saturday, November 29, 2008

Three cheers: Judges get 300% pay hike

Judges in the supreme court and high courts will now draw salaries almost three times higher than their present levels. The hike, approved by the union cabinet this week, comes in the wake of an increase in salary for central government employees in line with the sixth pay commission recommendations. 

The chief justice of India, whose existing salary is Rs 33,000 plus allowances, will now draw a monthly salary of Rs 1 lakh plus dearness allowance (DA). Other judges in the apex court will have a monthly pay package of Rs 90,000 plus allowances. Under the revised scale, judges in the state high courts will get a salary of Rs 80,000 plus DA. Chief justices of the high courts will enjoy the same salary as the supreme court judges. 

The revised pay package will be effective from January 2006. While 40% of the arrears of the salary will be given in the current financial year, the balance 60% would be paid in the next fiscal. The government has also decided to double the existing limit of both sumptuary allowance and furnishing allowance for all supreme court and high court judges, with effect from September 2008. 

The revised salaries for the judges were recommended by a three-judge committee. The recommendations became a matter of debate within the government factions with the finance ministry initially objecting to the law ministry’s suggestion to bring such a sharp hike in the salaries of judges, a government source said. 

The committee, which comprised Justices Ashok Bhan (now retired) and Altamas Kabir of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court Chief Justice (CJ) AP Shah, had proposed that the CJI’s monthly salary be raised from the present Rs 33,000 excluding allowances to Rs 1.10 lakh while that of the other apex court judges and CJs of high courts be hiked to Rs 1 lakh from the present Rs 30,000 excluding allowances. With the cabinet reaching a decision on the issue, a Bill is expected to be introduced in Parliament as salaries of higher judiciary are governed by an Act of Parliament.
Source Economic Times

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