NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday removed the anomalies in the pension benefits of High Court Judges elevated from the Bar, thereby implementing a 2014 order of the Supreme Court.
According to the Law Ministry proposal, an anomaly, owing to which the judges selected from the Bar got lesser pension than those elevated from state judicial services, will be rectified.
The proposal to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954, comes more than a year after the Supreme Court ruled that such a discrepancy must be removed.
For pension benefits, 10 years’ practice as advocate will be added as qualifying service for High Court Judges elevated from the Bar, as ordered by the Supreme Court in a judgment in March last year.
“If the service of a judicial officer is counted for the fixation of pension, there is no valid reason as to why the experience at the Bar cannot be treated as equivalent for the same purpose,” the ruling said.
The Cabinet decision on Wednesday seeks to implement this judgment.
In the judgment, the apex court had said that in order to remove the arbitrariness in the matter of pension of High Court Judges elevated from the Bar, the relief should be reckoned from April 1, 2004.
The apex court ruling, delivered by a Bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India(CJI) P Sathasivam on March 31, 2014, had also said “one rank one pension must be the norm in respect to a Constitutional office”.
The government will now bring in a Bill in Parliament amending the law relating to High Court Judges’ salaries and service conditions.
The apex court ruling came on a clutch of petitions filed by former judges of various High Courts as well as by the Association of the Retired Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts elevated from the Bar.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet has also cleared amendments to arbitration law for faster disposal of commercial disputes.
The move will give out a signal to the international business community that the prolonged arbitration proceedings in India will soon become a thing of the past and proceedings will be over within a stipulated period and with very less intervention by courts.