States spend only 0.44% of expenditure on judiciary: SC asks States, UTs to respond to Second National Judicial Pay Commission report
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States spend only 0.44% of expenditure on judiciary: SC asks States, UTs to respond to Second National Judicial Pay Commission report

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court has sought responses from all states and union territories on the implementation of the report recently submitted by the Second National Judicial Pay Commission (All India Judges Association v. Union of India).

The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde with Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant also said that should the states fail to file their responses within four weeks, it would be presumed that they are not opposed to the recommendations made by the Commission.

States spend only 0.44% of expenditure on judiciary: SC asks States, UTs to respond to Second National Judicial Pay Commission report

"If any of the parties fail to file such response, it will be presumed that they have no objections to the recommendations made by the Commission. We expect that the recommendations of the Commission will be implemented proactively."

The Supreme Court said

The Apex Court also appointed Senior Counsel PS Narasimha and Advocate K Parameshwar as amici curiae in the case to assist the Court. Narasimha had been assisting the Commission in the framing of the recommendations in the report. The Court also urged the amici to,

"...consider what institutional mechanisms can be put in place to ensure that this Court is not compelled to intervene every time in respect of pay scales and conditions of service in respect of the subordinate judiciary."

While issuing notice in the matter, the Court hoped that the objections on the grounds of "paucity of funds" are not raised by the states, given that the same objections had already been rejected by the Court in its 1993 judgment in All India Judges Association v. Union of India.

In this regard, the Court made a note of the state-wise percentage of expenditure on the judiciary in comparison to the overall expenditure for the year 2018-19.

It was found that the expenditure on the High Courts and the subordinate judiciary was a mere 0.44% of the total expenditure by the states.

In its order, the Court recounted the history of the issue, dating back to the First National Judicial Pay Commission constituted in 1996 under the Chairmanship of Justice KJ Shetty.

It expressed its dismay over the number of times judicial intervention was required to get the recommendations of the First Pay Commission implemented.

A final report by this Commission was submitted before the Supreme Court in 1999 and the recommendations were ultimately accepted by the Court in 2002. The implementation of the same, however, was not prompt, the Court notes. The order states,

"A perusal of the law reports for the subsequent years would indicate the number of times that this Court had to intervene to effectively get the recommendations of the Shetty Commission implemented. One would have expected that following a decade of directions, the executive would proactively setup another judicial pay commission since, in the meanwhile, a Sixth Pay Commission was set up and its recommendations implemented after modifications by the Union of India in respect of the public servants under the executive."
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