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Delhi HC Issues Notice On A Plea Challenging The Applicability Of Delhi's New Pension Scheme To Judicial Officers

Karan Tripathi
3 Feb 2020 4:47 AM GMT
Delhi HC Issues Notice On A Plea Challenging The Applicability Of Delhis New Pension Scheme To Judicial Officers
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Delhi High Court has issued a notice in a plea challenging the 'New Pension Scheme' of the Delhi Government, insofar as it applies to Judicial Officers appointed after 01/01/2004.

The Single Bench of Justice AK Chawla has issued a notice to Delhi Government as well as the Union Government, asking them to reply to the contentions raised in the petition.
Filed by Delhi Judicial Service Association, the petition claims that the said scheme contravenes various orders of the Supreme Court as it treats judicial officers at par with civil servants.
Moreover, the retrospective application of the benefits laid down in the scheme is also challenged.
The scheme which is currently in operation follows the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association v. Union of India (1989). The said scheme guarantees a minimum of 50% of last pay drawn to judicial officer.
However, the new pension scheme provides for a compulsory deduction of 10% of basic pay and dearness allowance of the employee, with a matching contribution by the government.
Thereafter upon superannuation, as per the new scheme, Judicial Officers can only withdraw 60% of their total pension wealth on retirement, and the balance 40% is mandatorily required to be deposited/invested in an Insurance Annuity Scheme.
The Petitioners claim that the Delhi Government has absolutely no power to modify the quantum of the salaries and pension payable to the Judicial Officers, without the leave of the Supreme Court.
It is further contended that as per the judgment in All India Judges Association v. Union of India (1989), the conditions of service of Judicial Officers is exclusively governed by the National Judicial Pay Commission.
Therefore, it is argued that the matters pertaining to the salaries and pension of Judicial Officers, shall be governed by the recommendations of Justice Shetty Commission and Justice Padmanabhan Committee.
'Delhi Government has no authority to modify the pension scheme without seeking the approval of the Supreme Court', the Petitioner claims.
In order to support their claims, the Petitioners have also cited the examples from Maharashtra and Karnataka, where the similarly drafted New Pension Schemes were held to be inapplicable to the Judicial Officers of the respective States.
Therefore, the Petitioners have asked the court to set aside the New Pension Scheme, insofar as it applies to Judicial Officers, as the provisions of the said scheme are allegedly in contravention of both the Justice Shetty Commission recommendations, as well as, the orders of the Supreme Court.

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