Explained: Bill to amend Judges Salaries Act
New Delhi, Dec 07: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju is set to table a bill to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.
The bill seeks to bring clarity the date on which a retired judge of Supreme Court and high court judges becomes eligible for an additional quantum of pension or family pension on attaining a certain age.
The increase in the salary and allowances will benefit 31 Judges of Supreme Court of India (including the CJI) and 1079 Judges(including the Chief Justices) of High Courts. Besides, approximately 2500 retired Judges will also be benefited on account of revision of pension/gratuity etc.
According to the bill, in 2009 the two laws were amended to provide that every retired judge or after his death, the family, as the case may be, will be entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension.
Additional quantum of pension or family pension: Under the Acts, all retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and their family members are entitled to pension or family pension. They are also entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension when they attain a certain age in accordance with a specified scale.
Accordingly, the additional quantum of pension to retired judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court is being sanctioned on completing the age of 80 years, 85 years, 90 years, 95 years and 100 years, as the case may be.
However, in a writ petition filed by a retired high court judge Virendra Dutt Gyani, the Gauhati High Court in it order of March 15, 2018 had held that benefit of additional quantum of pension as per the High Court Judges Act in the first slab would be available to a retired Judge from the first day of his 80th year.
"Subsequently, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh also, vide its order dated December 3, 2020 passed in writ petitions filed by the Association of Retired Judges of Supreme Court and High Court of India, has directed respondent Union of India to construe the word 'from' as it appears on the slab under section 16B of the 1958 Act and section 17B of the 1954 Act as the first day of entering the minimum age of the slab -- 80,85,90,95 and 100 years -- along with other consequential benefits to the petitioners," the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill reads.
The legislative intent behind insertion of section 17B and section 16B respectively in the two acts was to provide benefit of additional quantum of pension to a retired judge from the first day of the month in which he completes the age specified in the first column of the scale and not from the first day of his entering the age specified therein as so interpreted by the high courts, it said.
To clarify the matter further, an explanation is being inserted in the two laws, a government functionary explained.