New Delhi: A proposed legislation paving the
way for increasing the retirement age of High Court judges
from 62 to 65 years was approved by the Union Cabinet Friday.
The measure will help around 630 judges of the 21 High
Courts in the country.
Official sources said though the Law Ministry is keen on
introducing the legislation in the ongoing Monsoon session of
Parliament, various political parties will have to be taken
into confidence as constitutional amendment is needed for the
purpose. A constitutional amendment needs support of
two-thirds of the members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily favours a consensus to
emerge before moving the amendment, the sources said.
The last time the retirement age of High Court judges was
increased was in 1963. The age was then increased from 60 to
the present 62 years.
The proposal was first mooted by then Law Minister H R
Bhardwaj in April 2008. He had initiated discussion with the
opposition on the issue, but lack of political consensus led
to the issue being put on the backburner.
"Raising the retirement age of High Court Judges from 62
to 65 years will also aid in elimination of vacancies," a Law
Ministry document on legal and judicial reforms approved by
the Union Cabinet in November last year had said.
"If the retirement age of HC judges is increased, most HC
judges would not like to get elevated to the SC...they want to
come to the apex court as the retirement age in SC is 65," a
Ministry official said.
Over 40 lakh cases are pending in the High Courts which
are facing a shortfall of 265 judges, as per the latest
official data. While the sanctioned strength was 895, the High
Courts were working with 630 judges.