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Attorney General KK Venugopal today batted for raising the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 to 68. He was speaking at the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association for Justice AK Goel.
Referring to various cases which Justice Goel was hearing and the vision he had, KK Venugopal said that many of the innovative thoughts and ideas of Justice Goel would remain unfulfilled because of his retirement from office.
He said that a judge takes time to evolve and by the time he/ she is in a position to put his/ her innovative thoughts to practice, he/ she has to retire.
AG KK Venugopal, therefore, urged the Central government to consider raising the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 and Supreme Court judges to 68.
“This could have been avoided if the age of retirement was not 62 for High court judge and 65 for Supreme Court judges. That is because a judge has to evolve over the years. He has to have vast experience as an advocate. When he becomes a judge, he has to sit on different benches doing different subjects so that is an expert in each one.
Finally, the judge is elevated to the Supreme Court. And in Supreme Court, it is only when he presides that he is able to hold a sway in regard to the innovative thoughts that he has. By then, it would be time to say ‘goodbye’. Therefore, it is my sincere hope that the Government of India will look into this issue and raise it to say, 65 for the judge of High Court and 68 for judges of Supreme Court. That will be in the interest of the justice delivery system.
Justice Goel enrolled at the Bar in 1974. He practised before the Punjab & Haryana High Court for five years and the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court for about twenty-two years.
He was elevated as the judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2001 before being transferred to Gauhati High Court in September 2011, where he became Chief Justice in December 2011. He was then transferred as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court in October 2013 before being elevated to the Supreme Court where he took charge on July 7, 2014.
With Justice Goel’s retirement, the number of vacancies in Supreme Court now stands at 9. Supreme Court currently has 22 judges as against the sanctioned strength of 31.