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Govt Mulls Increasing Retirement Age of Judges in SC, HCs; Bill May be Introduced in Monsoon Session

Sources in the government said that the retirement age of Supreme Court judges will be raised from 65 to 67 while that of high court judges will be extended to 64 from the current 62.

Manoj Gupta | CNN-News18

Updated:July 18, 2018, 1:20 PM IST
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New Delhi: The government is considering a plan to raise the retirement age of judges in the higher judiciary.

Sources in the government told CNN-News18 that the retirement age of Supreme Court judges will be raised from 65 to 67 while that of high court judges will be extended to 64 from the current 62.

Raising the retirement age requires a constitutional amendment. The government may cite the massive shortage of judges in higher judiciary to bring about this change.

The sources said the government is mulling a new Bill in Parliament during the Monsoon session that begins on Wednesday.

A parliamentary committee had urged the government to hike the retirement age of Supreme Court and high court judges to tide over their shortage in higher judiciary.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and personnel said that to reduce the pendency of cases, the existing vacancies for judges need to be filled up immediately. It said the vacancies arising in the future should be filled up "strictly" as per guidelines laid down by the apex court in a 1993 judgement.

"... it feels that it would help in retaining the existing judges, which in turn would help in reducing both vacancy and pendency of cases in the short run," the panel said.

"The vacancy of judges is very high in high courts of Allahabad (56), Karnataka (38), Calcutta ( 39), Punjab and Haryana (35), Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (30) and Bombay (24)," it said quoting law ministry data.

A bill brought by the previous UPA government in 2010 to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years had lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

The Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010, which provided for increasing the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 25. But it could not be taken up for consideration and passage, and it lapsed.

The UPA proposal had sought to bring on a par with the retirement age of high court judges with that of Supreme Court judges at 65 years.

The 24 high courts face a shortage of 406 judges, according to latest law ministry data. Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.

| Edited by: Puja Menon
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