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Retirement age of Judges of Higher Judiciary

  • IASbaba
  • July 23, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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In News: Union Minister for Law and Justice told the Parliament that there is no proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court and High Court judges.

  • The Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill was introduced in 2010 to increase the retirement age of high court judges to 65. However, it was not taken up for consideration in Parliament and lapsed with the dissolution of the 15 Lok Sabha
  • According to Article 124(2) of the Constitution, the age of retirement for Supreme Court judges is 65.
  • As per Article 217(1) of the Constitution, High Court judges retire at 62.

Why should it be increased?

Pendency of cases

  • As of September 15, 2021, over 5 crore cases were pending across all courts in India. Of these, 87.6% cases were pending in subordinate courts and 12.3% in High Courts.
  • The Supreme Court’s statistics show that 70,362 cases are pending with it as of April 1, 2022.

Judge-population ratio

  • The judge-population ratio in India is among the lowest with 21.03 as on December 31 2021, while In 2016, the K. had 51 judges per million people, the U.S. had 107, Australia had 41, and Canada had 75.

Other appointments

  • Moreover, legislations provide for retired High Court and Supreme Court judges to man tribunals till the age of 70 as chairman and 65 as members. There is no reason why these judges should be retired so early.

Recommendations

  • In 1974, the 58th report of the Law Commission recommended bringing parity between age of retirement of judges of High Court and Supreme Court.
  • In 2002, Justice Venkatachaliah Report – the report of National Commission to review the working of the Constitution – also recommended that the age of retirement should be increased for judges of High Courts and Supreme Court to 65 and 68, respectively.

Other countries

  • A retirement age of around 70 for judges is commonplace in most Western liberal democracies. Some of them even opt for tenures for life.
  • In the Supreme Court of the United States, and in constitutional courts in Austria and Greece, judges are appointed for life.
  • In Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Australia, the retirement age for judges is 70 years.

Impacts

  • It will address the problem of mounting arrears.
  • It will ensure the continued presence of a strong talent pool of experienced judges.
  • Faster delivery of justice
  • It will render post-retirement assignments unattractive and, as a consequence, strengthen the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

Increasing the age of Judges will certainly help in addressing many issues. The retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts could be increased, but with the option of quitting before reaching the age of superannuation – a practice prevailing in Zimbabwe, where a top court judge is appointed to retire at 65 years but can opt to continue till 70.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. The motion to impeach a Judge of the Supreme Court of India cannot be rejected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha as per the Judges (Inquiry) Act 1968.
  2. The Constitution of India defines and gives details or what constitutes ‘incapacity and proved misbehaviour’ of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  3. The details of the process of impeachment of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India are given in 4 the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968.
  4. If the motion for the impeachment of a Judge is taken up for voting, the law requires the motion to be backed by each House of the Parliament and supported by a majority of total membership of that House and by not less than two-thirds of total members of that House present and voting.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 3 only
  3. 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 3 and 4

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