No plan to increase retirement age of SC, HC judges: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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New Delhi | Published: July 19, 2018 4:36:26 AM

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the government was not planning to extend the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts to tide over a severe shortage of judges in higher judiciary.

Prasad said the government as of now is not considering a Constitutional amendment to raise the retirement age of SC judges from 65 to 67 and from 62 to 64 years for HC judges. (IE)

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the government was not planning to extend the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts to tide over a severe shortage of judges in higher judiciary.

Media reports earlier in the day had said that the government was mulling a new Bill to this effect in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament due to “massive shortage of judges in higher judiciary”.

Prasad said the government as of now is not considering a Constitutional amendment to raise the retirement age of SC judges from 65 to 67 and from 62 to 64 years for HC judges.

In 2010, then UPA government had introduced a Constitutional amendment in Parliament to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years. However, the Bill lapsed after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014.

Earlier this year, the parliamentary standing committee on law, justice and personnel had asked the Centre to increase the retirement age of the higher judiciary so as to reduce pendency of cases and recommended that the retirement age of SC judges be raised to 67 years from 65 and that of HC judges to 65 from 62.

The committee had said if judges can work up to 65 years of age in the Supreme Court, there is no rationale in the argument that at 62, a HC judge is too old to continue to work. It also highlighted the life expectancy, which has increased considerably in last few years.

Attorney general KK Venugopal earlier this month urged the government to raise the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court judges. He said retirement was a blow for several judges who did not get enough time on the Bench to implement their innovative thoughts.

“Finally, the judge is elevated to the Supreme Court. And in the Supreme Court, it is only when he presides that he is able to hold a sway in regard to innovative thoughts that he has. By then, it would be time to say ‘goodbye’,” the A-G said.

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