In a good news for 21,000 judges of the lower courts, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to set up a commission to recommend hike in their salaries. With the Cabinet granting its approval, the Law Ministry would now notify the formation of the second National Judicial Pay Commission. The commission would be headed by Justice P Venkatrama Reddi, retired Supreme Court court. R Basant, a former judge of the Kerala High Court is the member of the panel. The commission would make its recommendations to the state governments, preferably within a period of 18 months, a statement said. The judges and judicial officers of subordinate courts got the last pay hike in 2010, a three-fold jump, from their salaries decided in 1999. The 2010 hike was applied retrospectively from January 1, 2006.
The current entry level salary for a junior civil judge is Rs 45,000 while a senior judge gets nearly Rs 80,000. The commission will submit its recommendations in early 2019 and the hike again is expected to be given with retrospective effect. The move comes after directions from the Supreme Court in May. The first judicial pay commission, headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty, was set up in March 1996 and it submitted its report in November 1999. The Supreme Court had appointed a one-member committee under Justice E Padhmanabhan, a retired high court judge, who submitted his report in July 2009 recommending the three-fold hike. The recommendations of the commission will help in promoting efficiency in judicial administration, optimising the size of judiciary etc. and to remove anomalies created in implementation of earlier recommendations, the statement said.