Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Law ministry clears the way for hiking lower court judges’ salaries

The government has set the ball rolling for raising salaries of judges of lower courts with the law ministry proposing the appointment of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC) to recommend pay hikes for approximately 22,000 judges.
The last pay hike, which was a three-fold increase, was given to the subordinate judiciary in 2010 and was applied retrospectively from January 1, 2006, sources in the ministry revealed. The commission will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice PV Reddy.
The current entry level salary for a junior civil judge is approximately Rs 45,000 while a senior judge draws close to Rs 80,000 apart from other allowances and benefits. The commission will submit its recommendations in early 2019 and the hike again is expected to be given with retrospective effect.

While state governments pay the salaries of lower court judges in their respective states, the Centre foots the salary bill for such judges in Union territories.
A revised proposal was sent to the cabinet secretariat on Tuesday and will come before the Union cabinet in the coming days. “This is likely to be cleared soon because the ministry has already responded to all of the queries raised by the cabinet secretariat in its earlier correspondence,” a source in the know said.
Since the commission will also look into other conditions of service other than the emoluments, the ministry has also obtained inputs from the ministries of housing and urban affairs and the departments of expenditure, pensions, legal affairs and legislative departments.
The move comes after directions from the Supreme Court in May. The first judicial pay commission, headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty was set up in March 1996 on directions of the SC and it submitted its report in November 1999. The All India Judges Association approached the SC again in 2009 after the sixth pay commission for government employees.
The SC directed the appointment of a one-member committee under Justice E Padhmanabhan, a retired high court judge, who submitted his report in July 2009 recommending the three-fold hikes.

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