SC summons Chief Secys, Finance Secys of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and 18 other states/UTs for non-compliance of judicial pay panel recommendations : The Tribune India

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SC summons Chief Secys, Finance Secys of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and 18 other states/UTs for non-compliance of judicial pay panel recommendations

‘Though seven opportunities have been granted to the states, it appears full compliance has not been effected,’ says a three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud

SC summons Chief Secys, Finance Secys of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and 18 other states/UTs for non-compliance of judicial pay panel recommendations

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, July 11

The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned Chief Secretaries and Finance Secretaries of 21 states/UTs, including those of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh for failing to clear the arrears of revised salary and pension of judicial officers in terms of recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission.

“Though seven opportunities have been granted to the states, it appears full compliance has not been effected,” said a three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud, directing them to remain personally present before it with compliance affidavits on August 23 – the next date of hearing.

"We know how to extract compliance now. If we just say that the Chief Secretary will be present if the affidavit is not filed then it will not be filed. We are not sending them to jail but let them be here and then an affidavit will be submitted. Let them be personally present now," it said.

"The Chief Secretaries and Finance Secretaries have to be personally present. Failing compliance, the court will be constrained to initiate contempt," warned the Bench which also included Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra.

The other 18 states/UTs whose Chief Secretaries and Finance Secretaries have been ordered to be personally appear before it were -- Delhi, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Orissa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

It directed all the defaulting states to file compliance reports by August 20 and asked their chief secretaries and finance secretaries to appear personally on August 23.

Expressing strong displeasure over the failure of states to implement the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission, the Bench made clear that it will not grant any further extensions.

The order came after amicus curiae K Parmeswar apprised the Bench of the latest status on the implement the commission’s recommendations which covered pay structure, pension and family pension and allowances, besides dealing with the issue of establishing a permanent mechanism to determine subjects of service conditions of the district judiciary.

As Parmeswar referred to tax deduction at source (TDS) by states on allowances due to serving and retired judicial officers, the Bench said, "Wherever exemptions are available under the Income Tax Act from deduction of TDS on allowances, the state governments shall ensure that no deductions are made. Wherever TDS are wrongly deducted, the amount shall be refunded to judicial officers.”

The Supreme Court had on January 4 asked high courts to set up a two-judge committee each to oversee the implementation of its orders on pay, pension and other retirement benefits for judicial officers in terms of the Commission’s recommendations.

The disbursements on account of arrears of salary, pension and allowances due and payable to judicial officers, retired judicial officers and family pensioners shall be computed and paid on or before February 29, 2024, it had ordered.

Maintaining that there’s a need to maintain uniformity in service conditions of judicial officers across India, the top court had said Judicial independence -- necessary to preserve the faith and confidence of common citizens in the rule of law -- can be ensured and enhanced only so long as judges are able to lead their life with a sense of financial dignity.

 

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