Friday, July 22, 2011

Handle cases of retired judges with “due care” -Gujarat High Court

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court (HC) has asked the state government to deal with “due care” in the matter involving retired judges in connection with financial transactions.
Abench headed by chief justice observed that the state government should deal with the matter with due care when the retired judges are involved in the case. The remark was made in connection with a complaint filed by retired high court judge HH Mehta about the recovery of Rs 1.95 lakh, which Mehta claimed, Gujarat Public Works Contracts Disputes Arbitration Tribunal owes him.
Last year, justice Mehta moved HC with a petition claiming more money from the state government towards salary for his 10-month tenure as the tribunal chairman. He has been demanding that his pay package be considered Rs 80,000 per month.
The retired judge submitted that he had headed the tribunal for three years till October 2008, but the judicial members’ salary was increased with effect from January 2008. Hence, he was entitled to higher pay scale for 10 months as the department of justice revised the pay scale for judges.
During the pendency of justice Mehta’s petition, the tribunal dashed off a letter seeking recovery of Rs 1.95 lakh. The director of pensions found that the amount was excessively paid to the judicial member. But when the issue was raised during the proceeding, the bench headed by chief justice S J Mukhopadhaya observed that the dispute should have been settled outside the court. The division bench referred the case to the mediation centre.
The division bench ordered, “The state government should deal with the matter with due care keeping the dignity and status of the retired judges.”

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