The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre, state and Registrar General of all High Courts on a petition which sought setting up a separate pay commission for the approximate 18,000 subordinate court judges in the country.
The petition filed by petitioner All India Judges Association which wanted the respondents to ensure that judicial officers are granted their essential and basic service conditions, also sought a direction to the respondents to check the feasibility of establishing an All India Judicial Services.
“ Issue a writ of mandamus or a writ in the nature of mandamus or such other writ / order / direction as may be necessary directing the Respondents to constitute All India Judicial Commission in terms of the representation made by the Petitioner to Respondent No. 1 on 13/05/2015 to review the service conditions of the judicial officers of subordinate judiciary in India including but not limited to Pay Scale, Retirement Age, Pension and other emoluments of the Sub-ordinate judiciary from time to time”, said the petition filed by advocate Mayuri Raghuvanshi and argued by senior advocate Gourab Banerji
“Also issue such orders as may be necessary to direct the Respondent No 1 (centre) to undertake appropriate exercise to ascertain the feasibility of establishing an All India Judicial Services”, the petition added.
“The Petitioner is seeking review and improvement of the service conditions of the judicial officers throughout the country by way of the present petition under Article 32.
The Petitioner in the instant case is All India Judges Association (AIJA) whose members are judges of the subordinate judiciary from all over India and was formed and registered in 1985. The petitioner was formed with the primary objective of improving the service conditions of the judges in sub-ordinate judiciary”, it said.
It said in the past, the court had directed for constitution of the Hon’ble Justice Shetty Commission and Hon’ble Justice Padmanabhan Commission for recommending improvements in the service conditions of judicial officers. These commissions have favourably shaped the service conditions of all the judges in sub-ordinate judiciary in compliance with the directions by this Hon’ble Court. Thus, the efforts of AIJA are aimed towards the welfare of its members and not of any particular individual. In this context, it is submitted that the instant petition is being filed so that the judicial officers are granted their essential and basic service conditions”, said the plea.
“Importantly, though the periodic exercise of constituting a Pay Commission for the executive in public service has been undertaken by the Central/State Government and pay scales are being reviewed, no such mechanism has been put in place for the judicial services despite specific directions by this Hon’ble Court to this effect”, the petition complained.
The supreme court has ruled in All India Judges Association v Union of India and ors 1993 4 SCC 288 that the service conditions of the Judicial Officers should be laid down and reviewed from time to time by an independent Commission exclusively constituted for the purpose, and the composition of such Commission should reflect adequate representation on behalf of the judiciary.
The question with regard to pay scales in respect of the members of the judicial service had however been initially referred to the 5th Central Pay Commission. However, in view of the directions as above, the Govt. of India by a resolution dated 21/03/1996, constituted the First National Judicial Pay Commission under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.J. Shetty, a former Judge of the Supreme court .
Subsequently, by an amendment made on 24/10/1996, the reference to the 5th Central Pay Commission with regard to the fixation of Pay Scales of the Judicial Officers was deleted, it said.
Read the Petition here.