Thursday, May 20, 2010

Govt wants same retirement age for HC and SC judges

The law ministry has dusted out an old proposal and given it a major modification to suggest to the government an amendment to the Constitution to put the retirement age of high court judges on a par with that of the Supreme Court judges — 65 years.

The fresh proposal has scissored out a part of the earlier proposal, which suggested increasing the retirement age of Supreme Court judges proportionally, that is, from the present 65 years to 68 years. But, any increase in the retirement age of the HC judges would require an amendment to Article 217 of the Constitution. So, this proposal would require support from most of the political parties before being brought in as a Constitutional Amendment Bill.
The move aims to end the embarrassing situation faced by the Chief Justice of India and the collegium of judges in the face of strong lobbying by high court judges and chief justices for elevation to the SC prior to their retirement at the age of 62 years. Appointment of an HC judge or a CJ to the SC means another three years on the Bench.
Secondly, the law ministry headed by M Veerappa Moily feels that once the retirement age of HC judges is increased and put on a par with that of the SC judges, it would eliminate the lure for the extra three years and along with it the rush for appointment to the Supreme Court.

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