The Supreme Court on Wednesday called upon the Department of Justice, Central Government to place its views about inequalities in the matter of payment of pension to Service Judges as compared to Bar Judges.
Former Judge of Madras High Court, Justice M. Vijayaraghavan had, in 2017, filed a writ petition before the Apex court, seeking a direction to rectify the disparities in the pension payable to High Court Judges drawn from Subordinate Judiciary and the Judges drawn from the Bar in tune with "One Rank One Pension" norm. He also sought a declaration to the effect that the provisions in Chapter III and Part I and Part- III of 1st Schedule of the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954, relating to pensions payable as null and void.
Justice Vijayaraghavan started his judicial career as a Munsiff in the year 1986. When he was serving as District Judge, his name was recommended for High court Judgeship. Later he was made a High Court judge and he retired from service on 16.11.2013.
"When a High Court Judge drawn from the Bar, who has rendered less than 12 years of actual service is entitled for added service of 10 years and thus, is entitled for full pension of Rs.4,80,000/-per annum, there is no logic or reason to discriminate a Judge drawn from the Subordinate Judiciary.", he contends in his writ petition.
When this petition came up before the bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, it said: "These petitions highlight the perceived inequalities in the matter of payment of pension to Service Judges as compared to Bar Judges following the decision of this Court in P.Ramakrishnam Raju vs. Union of India."
The court also asked the ministry to consider the issue of difference in pension paid to Service Judges appointed to the High Court who come from two different streams i.e. direct recruit District Judges and promotee District Judges.