7th Pay Commission salary hike has been cleared for implementation for this important pillar of government and it will come as nothing short of great news as pay is all set to jump massively. The Lok Sabha has passed the bill to hike the salaries of the judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts by over two folds. The salary hike, which is in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission report for officers of all-India services, will come into force retrospectively from January 1, 2016. Once the hike is effected, the salary of judges will be on a par with those of the bureaucrats following the implementation of the recommendations of the 7th Pay panel. The discussion on the Bill saw members express concern over what they saw as threats to principle of separation of powers, calls for hiked salaries for MPs, and even for reservation in the judiciary.
Once the bill is cleared by Parliament and becomes a law, the Chief Justice of India will get a monthly salary of Rs 2.80 lakh from the present Rs one lakh. Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court and chief justices of the high courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs 2.50 lakh from the current Rs 90,000. But there is a huge catch in the proceedings! Since the bill was not passed by the Rajya Sabha during the Winter session which ended on January 5, the salary hike will have to wait till the Budget session which may commence from January 30.
The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 also seeks to revise the rates of house rent allowance with effect from July 1, 2017 and the rates of sumptuary allowance with effect from September 22, 2017. In 2016, then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government seeking a hike in the salaries of Supreme Court and high court judges. As against the approved strength of 31, the Supreme Court today has 25 judges. The high courts have an approved strength of 1,079, but 682 judges are today handling work in the 24 high courts. The move will also benefit 2,500 retired judges.