NEW DELHI: To increase the retirement age of judges of High Courts and Supreme Court, a BJP leader has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that pendency of cases can be sorted out.
Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay and Delhi BJP spokesperson in his letter demanded that age of retirement should be enhanced from 65 to 70 years.
Judges of high courts retire at the age of 62, while judges of the Supreme Court retire at 65. Only those chief justices whose tenure in the Supreme Court is likely to be around four years are generally considered for elevation, even though there have been a few exceptions to this in the recent past.
The Supreme Court is presently working with 23 judges and one more vacancy would be created on July 6 when Justice A K Goel will retire. The letter mainly harps on case pendency in India and highlights how more than three crore cases are pending in Courts, which are just lingering along and not reaching their logical conclusion. Upadhyay has also highlighted the international norm where judges do work beyond the years stipulated in India. "Judges retire at the age of 75 years in United Kingdom and Canada and at the age of 70 years in Australia, Belgium and Norway and work for lifetime in United States, Russia, New Zealand and Iceland, subject to physical and mental fitness," reads the letter.
The last increase in retirement age of the High Court judges was made in 1963, when it was raised from 60 years to 62 years. The proposal to hike the age further was mooted in 2008 by the then Law Minister HR Bhardwaj. The Union Cabinet gave its nod for legislation to raise the retirement age of High Court and Supreme Court Judges in 2010. However, due to lack of political consensus, it was put on the backburner.
Another reason why an increase in the retirement age of judges has been sought is so that judiciary does not take "320 years to clear backlog of cases and said, "The Indian Judiciary would take 320 years to clear the backlog of about 31.28 million cases pending in various courts in India."