The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed, by voice vote, the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, which changes the salary and service conditions of the judges of the higher judiciary and provide an additional quantum of pension or family pension when they attain a certain age in accordance with a specified scale.
According to the Bill, the additional quantum of pension to retired judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court is being sanctioned on completing the age of 80, 85, 90, and 95 years, as the case may be.
In his reply to the debate on this Bill, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that he welcomed the suggestions made by the members during the debate on Tuesday and he will consider incorporating them after due consultation with the other stakeholders.
He also said that as of now he cannot assure the Members to add up certain suggestions made by them without holding consultation with the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Noting that the judiciary is equally important as other pillars of democracy as legislature and executive, the Minister also said that many retired judges and the Supreme Court Bar Association have expressed different views on the Collegium system and the National Judicial Appointment Committee, therefore, he will make wider consultation on these issues.
He also admitted that the staggering number of pending cases in various courts has to be addressed on a priority basis.
Initiating the debate on the Bill on Tuesday, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor raised the issue of the retirement age of judges of the top courts. He also cited the alarming number of pending cases in the courts.
Trinamool Congress’ Kalyan Banerjee also raised the issue of case pendency, while BJP’s P.P. Chaudhary requested the government to revisit the process of appointment of judges.
YSR Congress Party’s V. Geethaviswanath, Shiv Sena member Arvind Ganpat Sawan, BSP’s Shyam Singh Yadav and others also participated in the debate.