SC refuses to entertain BJP chief’s PIL for rising HC judges’ retirement age to 65

Satya Prakash

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, April 12

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s PIL seeking to increase the age of retirement of high court judges from 62 years to 65 years.

“You want judiciary to enhance its own (judges’) age of retirement? “Why do you want judges to work till 65 years of age?” the CJI asked Upadhyay.

The petitioner submitted that both the Supreme Court and High Court are constitutional courts and courts of record and the disparity in the age of retirement was irrational and arbitrary.

While the Supreme Court judges retire at 65 the age of retirement for High Court judges is 62 years, he pointed out.

“How can you call it irrational?” the CJI asked.

As the Bench made it clear that it won’t hear the PIL, Upadhyay chose to withdraw it.

The Bench didn’t agree with the petitioner that due to early retirement age, finest lawyers didn’t want to become judges.

Later, Upadhyay said, “I will submit my representation to the Law Ministry and the Law Commission of India.”

As almost one third of the 1079 posts of judges in 25 high courts across India remain vacant, Upadhyay had moved in the Supreme Court, seeking to raise their age of retirement from 62 years to 65 years.

His PIL demanded uniform retirement age for judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court.

Uniformity in the retirement age is not only necessary to reduce pendency of cases but also essential to attract and retain the best legal talent in the bench, he had submitted.

if there was uniformity in retirement age, the Judges of the High Court will discharge judicial work more independently and without any expectation to move to the Supreme Court, it submitted

The PIL contended that to minimise the apprehension of subordination between the Supreme Court and High Courts also, it was appropriate to equate the retirement age of High Court Judge’s with Supreme Court judges.

Terming it as “irrational” to have different retirement age for judges of constitutional courts, Upadhyay said increasing the retirement age and making it uniform i.e 65 years will not only strengthen the rule of law, but also secure the fundamental right of speedy justice, guaranteed under Article 21.

Uniformity in the retirement age of Judges will create a pool of experienced judges in High Courts, which will be extremely useful for deciding the cases of extreme importance or which require deep and thorough knowledge for interpretation of the Constitution, the PIL submitted.

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