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House panel suggests hike in Judges’ pension
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 14
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice in its report on the Supreme Court and High Court Judges’ salaries and condition of service amendment Bill, introduced in Parliament, has proposed to increase their pension, additional pension and maximum pension by 1.5 times.

The report said that the Bill proposed to compute the family pension at the rate of 50 per cent of salary plus 50 per cent of dearness pay up to the age of 65 years or first seven years of death, whichever is earlier and thereafter 30 per cent of salary plans and 30 per cent of dearness pay, subject to a minimum increase of Rs 1913 p.m.

As per the calculations worked out by the committee, the maximum increased pension to be effective from April 1, 2004 in the case of Chief Justice of India (CJI) would be Rs 2.97 lakh and other Judges Rs 2.70 lakh annually. The increase in the CJI’s case is worked out to be exactly Rs 1 lakh and for the other Judges of the apex court, Rs 90,000 p.a. The maximum pension of the Chief Justice of High Court would be Rs 2.70 lakh and that of other Judges Rs 2.34 lakh p.a. The minimum pension of a high court Judge, depending upon his appointment, would be Rs 76,785, the report said.

The Bill also provided for increasing the “sumptuary allowance” of CJI from existing Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000, other Supreme Court Judges and the High Court Chief Justice to Rs 7,500 from the present Rs 3000 and the High Court Judges to Rs 6,000 from Rs 2,000 per month.

Since Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts were placed in three categories — those elevated directly from the Bar (Part-I), from Indian Civil Service (Part-II) and from state judicial service (Part-III) — for the purpose of computation of basic pension, the increase as considering the years of service they had put in, was substantial.

Normally a Judge elevated from Bar would get less benefits in respect to pension as he would have put in a service of less number of years depending upon at what age he was appointed.

The report also said that a Supreme Court and High Court Judge was entitled to rent-free official residence and where he did not avail himself such a facility, he was paid an allowance of Rs 10,000 per month in lieu of this.

The report indicated that a Supreme Court Judge would get full pension of Rs 2.70 lakh p.a. on putting up of 13 years of service, while the pension would Rs 2.19 lakh for ten years service, Rs 1.53 lakh for seven years, Rs 1.09 for five years and Rs 96,045 p.a. for three years service.

The report said that the Bill provided to remove the anomalous position of pension that prevailed between part-I and part-III judges. It proposed to dispense with the condition of seven years of service and to add a pension of ten years to the qualifying period of service for pension, in case of the Judge was appointed from the Bar.

The committee impressed upon the government to carry out a study for revising the existing salary and allowances structure for Supreme Court and High Court Judges, examine the feasibility of introducing the pattern of allowances and salary, applicable in some advanced countries and remove differentiation between the Judges appointed directly and those elevated from the Bar in determining the qualifying period for pensionery benefits.

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