Cabinet approves Amendment to remove anomalies in pensionary benefits of HC judges

Cabinet approves Amendment to remove anomalies in pensionary benefits of HC judges

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to amend the High Court Judges Act removing anomalies in pensionary benefits of HC judges.

According to the proposal, an HC Judge elevated from the bar will have his 10 years of practice as advocate added to his service tenure for calculation of pensionary benefits.

Until now, a Judge’s pension was calculated on the number of his service years, thus putting those elevated from the Bar at a disadvantage compared to those from the judicial service.

The proposal to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954, comes more than a year after the Supreme Court ruled that such a discrepancy must be removed. In its judgment in March last year, the Court had directed the central government to remove the disparity that exists in pension benefits for judges of the high court. The revised benefits should apply retrospectively from April 1, 2004, the apex court said.

The main question that arose before the Supreme Court in the case P. Ramakrishnam Raju v. Union of India and others, was whether high court judges who were appointed under Article 217 (2) (b) of the Constitution on retirement are entitled for an addition of 10 years to their service for the purposes of their pension. The Bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam on March 31, 2014 had also said that "one rank one pension must be the norm in respect of a Constitutional office."

It had hence held that fixation of higher pension to the Judges drawn from the Subordinate Judiciary who have served for shorter period in contradistinction to Judges drawn from the Bar who have served for longer period with less pension is highly discriminatory and breach of Article 14 of the Constitution. Read the LiveLaw story here.