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Pushing Higher Retirement age for Supreme Court and High Court Judges will lay down a great milestone: Rishabh Raj

India has a single judicial system. Indian judicial system has observed many changes since independence, digitalization has been on a full spree and that has helped in the efficient delivery of justice. This is reflected in the current structure of the judicial system of India.

SNS | Updated :

India has a single judicial system. Indian judicial system has observed many changes since independence, digitalization has been on a full spree and that has helped in the efficient delivery of justice. This is reflected in the current structure of the judicial system of India.

One more proposal is there, which is to increase the retirement age of the Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court & High Courts from 65 to 68 years and from 62 to 65 years respectively. The proposal has been put forth to avoid the post-retirement openings and less criticism.

Rishabh Raj Advocate, Supreme Court of India says that the Ministry was responding to the recommendation of a Parliamentary Standing Committee that when we increase the age of judges would help retain the existing judges, which in turn would help in reducing both vacancy and pendency of cases in the short run. 

Rishabh Raj Advocate, Supreme Court of India

 

One more attribute of the committee was the life expectancy, which has increased in the past.

When we speak about the Indian judicial system, it is the invisible power, and it lies in the non-constitutional feudalism and parliamentary outlook.

The Venkatachaliah Report (Report of the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, 2002) recommended that the retirement age of the Judges of the High Court should be increased to 65 years and that of the Judges of the Supreme Court should be increased to 68 years. The age should be unanimous in both the Higher and Lower Courts.

A half-hearted attempt was made in 2010 through Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill 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 15th Lok Sabha. The retirement age recently came into talk when CJI N.V Ramana opined that 65 years is too early an age for someone to retire.

In past also Justice Kurian Joseph former Judge Supreme Court also recommended increasing the retirement age of judges in the higher judiciary to decrease the pendency of cases.

However, when we speak about the retirement age, 65 years is considered to be the age to retire and at this age, the human body starts to decline a bit on the physical note. At this age, the mind and body both start to become more and more dependent. 

But as Rishabh quotes Mark Twin who said “Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter”, the age should not be the bar for labelling someone as obsolete or determining his proficiency says Rishabh. 

As of now, out of total approved strength, there are 1108 judges in 25 High Courts and 32 judges in Supreme Court.

When we speak about Article 124 of the Constitution of India, every judge of the Supreme Court of India should be appointed by the President of India with the consultation of High Court Judges and Supreme Court Judges and what is deemed to be necessary. 

When we speak about the retirement age of the Judges, there is one more suggestion that Judges should have a uniform retirement age, i.e., 68, this was opined by the Former CJI MN Venkatachaliah reiterating his 1993 suggestion as mentioned in the above paragraph. 

The Indian courts are suffering from a huge backlog of cases and an increase in the age of the Judges can reduce the backlog. It is estimated that there are 4.7 crore cases pending across different levels of the judiciary. 

Of the, 87.4% are pending in subordinate courts, 12.4% in High Courts, while as of today there are 76,852 cases pending in Supreme Court says Rishabh Raj, Advocate, Supreme Court of India.

Also, when the age of the retirement of the judges is increased, it will help in restoring the lost faith in the Indian Courts because of the delay in the justice delivery system. 

The increase in the retirement age will be both in the public interest and the judicial interest as the experience of the Senior Judges will lay down a great milestone in law. 

With the increased usage of the technology should be encouraged to streamline the work systematically.

All the above suggestions should be kept in mind during the review of the retirement age of the Judges.