Judges’ salary hike: SC seeks states’ response

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for response from all states, UTs and High Courts to the recommendations made by the Justice E Padmanabhan Committee, the most prominent being over three-fold hike in revision of salary of lower-judiciary judges.

Appointed by the apex court in April this year, the Padmanabhan committee placed its report before a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan. It has also called for an increase in the pensionary benefits to those judicial officers who retired before January 2006 and those after it.

In a steep revision of salary and other allowances payable to judges of lower judiciary — civil judges and three levels of district judges — the committee has recommended that salary of an entry-level civil judge (junior division) be revised to Rs 27,700 from the existing Rs 9,000 as was fixed by the first National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC).

Similarly, for a senior division civil judge the proposed hike is from Rs 12,850 to Rs 39,530. Even the salary payable to district judges has been recommended for an upward hike. For instance, a district judge (entry-level), at present entitled to get Rs 16,750, will get Rs 51,550 as per the recommendations.

The first NJPC, also known as Justice Jagannatha Shetty Commission, had fixed the salary of the senior-most district judge at Rs 22,850, which now has been proposed to be increased to Rs 70,290, the apex court was informed.

Early this year, the government had hiked the salary of the Chief Justice of India to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 33,000, SC judges and Chief Justices of High Courts to Rs 90,000 from Rs 30,000, and High Court judges to Rs 80,000 from Rs 26,000.

The Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, gave time till August 31 to the states and HCs for furnishing their responses. The matter has been scheduled for further hearing on September 1.

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