Kerala High Court dismisses plea to establish Supreme Court benches in all High Courts and increase retirement age of judges to 75 years

The plea made some serious allegations against judges and suggested that implementation of certain reforms would be beneficial to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly with Kerala HC
Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly with Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court recently dismissed a plea which sought establishment of Supreme Court benches in all High Courts [Abdul Jaleel v State of Kerala].

The plea by one Abdul Jaleel, which also prayed for raising the retirement ages of all judges in the country to 75 years, was dismissed by a division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly.

The bench observed that while the petitioner had raised serious allegations of corruption against the judiciary, the Court cannot pass any order considering the nature of the reliefs sought.

"Though the petitioner – party-in-person has alleged that some of the judges were hand in glove with the criminals and obtained post retirement postings, which allegations are very serious, having regard to the reliefs sought for, we are not inclined to advert to the same and no direction in the nature of mandamus as prayed for, can be granted," the judgment stated.

The petitioner had sought the following orders from the Court:

  1. To establish a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in all the High Courts of the country to hear only the cases of the poor and the destitute. In order to fulfill my this request, direct the Supreme Court registrar General to take steps to place this Petition before the Hon'ble Supreme Court Chief Justice;

  2. Direct the Central government to take steps to enhance the retirement age of the judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and all the judicial officers of the country to 75 years; and

  3. Direct the Central government to take steps to ensure that judicial officers in the country shall not accept any post in the government after retirement.

The petitioner, who appeared in person, contended that the government should increase the retirement age of judges, if necessary by amending the constitution.

He argued that preventing judges from accepting government posts after retirement was also necessary to ensure that the government cannot influence the judiciary, thus making the judiciary truly independent.

By increasing the retirement age, he surmised that a substantial amount of public money can be saved and used for other purposes.

He claimed that, being a supposed victim of non-implementation the said provisions in the country, he has the locus standi to seek the same before the Court.

The Court, however, declined to comment on the allegations and deemed it appropriate to dismiss the plea.

[Read Judgment]

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Abdul Jaleel v Cabinet Principal Secretary & Ors..pdf
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