Plea on extending judges' retirement age to 68 rejected
A division bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that no Writ of Mandamus can be issued to direct the Union government to introduce an amendment in the Lok Sabha to enhance the retirement age of judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts. Saying so, it dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) to enhance the retirement ages of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, to 68 and 65 respectively.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, while dismissing the plea by V Vasanthakumar, a practising lawyer, stated that issuance of such a writ would be a futile exercise.
“Assuming that the said Bill is going to be introduced in the Lok Sabha, still voting has to take place and the outcome of the same may not be known. In such an eventuality, issuance of a Writ of Mandamus will only be a futile exercise.”
Vasanthakumar had cited the fact that a National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, under the Chairmanship of Justice M N Venkatachalaiah, former Chief Justice of India, had recommended among other things that the age of retirement of Judges of Supreme Court be raised to 68 years and that of High Court to 65 years respectively.
He also contended that, originally under Article 217(1) of the Constitution of India, the age of retirement of high court judges was fixed at 60 years and as per the amendment made in 1963, the age of retirement was increased to 62 years.
The Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2010, under which the age of retirement of Permanent Judges, Additional Judges and Acting Judges of High Court sought to be increased from 62 to 65 years and the Bill was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha; the Bill is pending in Parliament.
Since the Union government has not taken any steps to pass the Bill, he said he came forward to file the Public Interest Litigation.
“In countries such as Canada, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and United Kingdom, the age of retirement of High Court and Supreme Court Judges varies from 68 to 75; in the US, the judges can serve till their lifetime,” he had additionally cited.