In the recently held conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, the higher Judiciary also demanded to double their salaries, perks and post retirement benefits to High Court Judges. They also demanded a liaison officer, in order to facilitate their medical appointments and conveyance facilities for the same.
A note tabled at the conference reportedly says: “The rise in salaries of judges in HC and SC has not been commensurate with the increase in their workload, whereas the salaries of members of All India Services have been marching forward and today they are at par with the salaries of HC judges. This shows a step motherly treatment to the judiciary.”
They reasoned that a salary hike was needed to “meet the variety of challenges of the changing times”. They want their salary to be increased Rs. 4.50 lakh per month for a High Court Chief Justice and Rs. 4 lakh for a Judge.
Currently, the gross monthly salary of a High Court Chief Justice is Rs 2.10 lakh while that of a high court judge is Rs 1.85 lakh. They also get perks such as free government accommodation, an official vehicle, free electricity; leave travel allowance, medical reimbursement etc.
The Judges sought a National Judicial Council and State Judicial Councils “for effectively looking after the administration, including finances, of the Supreme Court and the High Courts”, as well as “financial autonomy” for the Supreme Court and high courts as “this is an essential requirement for the independence of judiciary”.
They also demanded certain perks for retired Judges. These include protocol assistance for retired judges for, “making special arrangements for their visit to major tourist and religious destinations, assistance for obtaining train tickets, air tickets”.
Further, they demanded that a retired Judge be allowed to engage a domestic help, selected by the judge or his or her spouse, who should be paid salary equivalent to the basic pay of a peon plus dearness allowance, free transport up to 1,000 km per month, house guard, etc.
They also urged that the retired High Court Judges should be allowed to gain medical facilities from private hospitals like serving judges.
Furthermore, they also demanded an institutionalized framework for periodic revision in judges’ salary by setting up a separate pay commission for the judiciary. This commission, as demanded by the Judiciary, should consider revision in salary at least once every five years “to keep pace with the rise in cost of living index”.
Despite continued controversy surrounding the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the gathering at the inaugural ceremony with all vigor. He said that the Judiciary, which is powerful, needs to become perfect so that it matches up to the expectations of the people of the country. Read the LiveLaw story here.
Read more news about the conference here.