New Delhi: The government on Friday said there is no proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court judges but steered clear of giving a commitment on increasing the retirement age of High Court judges.
"There is no proposal for increase in retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court from 65 to 68 years," Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda informed Rajya Sabha.
On whether the Centre is considering increasing the retirement age of judges of the 24 High Courts from 62 to 65 years, he said a constitutional amendment bill in this regard to increase the retirement age was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 25, 2010.
The bill was later referred to a Parliamentary Committee, which recommended that the proposed bill "in its present form should be passed without a delay".
"The bill could not be taken up for consideration and passing in Parliament and had lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha," he said.
Responding to another written question, Gowda said as on December 1, there are three vacancies in the Supreme Court which has the approved strength of 31.
In the 24 High Courts, the working strength stands at 629 against the approved strength of 984, resulting in 355 vacancies.
He said the Constitution does not provide for reservation for any caste or class of person in the higher judiciary.
"However, the government has requested the Chief Justices of the High Courts that while sending proposals for appointment of judges, due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities and from amongst women," he said.