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No Plan to Increase Retirement Age of Supreme Court, High Court Judges: Govt in RTI Reply

At present, Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65 whereas high court judges demit offices at 62. The superannuation ages of these judges have been fixed under the pertinent provisions of the Constitution.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:August 18, 2019, 10:03 AM IST
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No Plan to Increase Retirement Age of Supreme Court, High Court Judges: Govt in RTI Reply
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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government, "at present", has no plan in place to increase the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.

As a debate on the issue gets revived with a proposal recently made by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the government, a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that there are no such deliberations happening on the government's side.

CJI Gogoi had recently sent the proposal to ensure continued availability of more experienced judges for a longer tenure to improve the vacancy position and reduce the pendency of cases.

At present, Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65 whereas high court judges demit offices at 62. The superannuation ages of these judges have been fixed under the pertinent provisions of the Constitution.

The RTI application had asked the Union Law Ministry and the Department of Justice if a Bill is being readied to hike the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court judges. It further sought to know whether any meeting has taken place to consider the issue.

The response, received by CNN-News18 recently, has stated that no plan is in the pipeline to hike the retirement age of judges of the constitutional courts.

"At present there is no draft bill being readied/prepared to hike the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court Judges," said the RTI reply received from the Department of Justice. It added that the issue of enhancing the retirement age of judges of high courts was considered earlier.

"A Bill titled The Constitution One Hundred and Fourteenth Amendment Bill was moved by the Government in the 15th Lok Sabha. The Bill provided for increasing the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years. However, the Bill could not be passed and lapsed due to dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha," the reply said.

A constitutional amendment bill moved by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years had lapsed in 2014 with its dissolution. The proposal never came up for discussion or voting.

The issue of increasing the retirement age for judges had also featured in the Venkatachaliah Report (Report of the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution) in 2002.

A retirement age of around 70 for judges is commonplace in most Western liberal democracies. Some of these nations opt for tenures for life. In the Supreme Court of the United States, and in constitutional courts in Austria and Greece, judges are appointed for life.

In Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Australia, the retirement age for judges is 70 years. Judges in Canada and Germany retire at 75 and 68, respectively.

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