- Apprentice Lawyer
Salaries, allowances and pensions of Supreme Court and High Court judges are poised for a substantial hike, should the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017, be passed.
The Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, seeks to change the existing pay structure as laid down under the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.
If the Bill passes muster and is signed into law, the salaries of judges presiding over India’s Constitutional Courts will rise nearly threefold. While the Chief Justice of India will be entitled to a salary of Rs 2,80,000 per month, his colleagues at the Supreme Court will draw Rs 2,50,000 every month. The figures currently stand at Rs 1 lakh and Rs 90,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, Chief Justices of High Courts, who are currently paid a salary of Rs 90,000 a month, will take home Rs 2,50,000 instead. Other judges of High Courts will be paid Rs 2,25,000 a month, as opposed to an existing salary of Rs 80,000 per month .
|CJI||2,80,000 (1 lakh)||45,000 (20,000)|
|SC judge||2,50,000 (90,000)||34,000 (15,000)|
|CJ of HC||2,50,000 (90,000)||34,000 (15,000)|
|HC judge||2,25,000 (80,000)||27,000 (12,000)|
Existing emoluments in brackets.
The Bill’s Statement of Objects points out that the windfall has been necessitated by an increase in salaries, pensions, and allowances of Central Government Employees, in keeping with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.
The passage of the Bill will mean that the CJI will be entitled to a tax free, monthly Sumptuary Allowance (meant for day to day expenses related to an office held) of Rs 45,000. The figure currently stands at Rs 20,000. Other judges of the Supreme Court who are currently entitled to Rs 15,000, will now receive Rs 34,000.
While the change in allowance for a Chief Justice of a High Court will be identical to that of a judge of the Supreme Court, other judges of the High Court who currently receive Rs 12,000, will be entitled to Rs 27,000 each month.
All judges of the Higher Courts who do not make use of rent free accommodation provided by the state are entitled to an allowance amounting to 30 per cent of their salary. Should the Bill go through, this figure will be revised to 24 per cent of their salary, but subject to inflation.
Judges will also be entitled to an allowance of 27 per cent of their salary should their Dearness Allowance (DA) exceed 25 per cent, and will further go up to 30 per cent of their salary if DA exceeds 50 per cent.
The Bill also contemplates a nearly 300 per cent increase on the maximum limit on pensions that judges are currently entitled to.
The salaries and allowances of judges was last hiked in 2009, with retrospective effect from January, 1 2006. The current revision, should it go through, will take place retrospectively from January 1, 2016.