The Rajya Sabha on Monday approved a bill that seeks to bring clarity on the age of retired judges to determine when they will get enhanced pension.
The Lok Sabha had passed the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021 on December 8. The Rajya Sabha approved the bill on Monday after a discussion. The bill seeks to bring an explanatory clarification about the age of eligibility for enhanced pension for retired judges.
Replying on the bill, Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju assured the House that there is no politics and everyone stands together when it comes to ensuring justice. "There should be no gap between the common man and the justice system. I am thankful to all of you for supporting the bill without bringing any politics into it," he said.
According to the bill, in 2009, two laws were amended to provide that every retired judge or after his or her death, the family, as the case may be, will be entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension. Accordingly, the additional quantum of pension for retired judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court is being sanctioned on the completion of the age of 80 years, 85 years, 90 years, 95 years and 100 years, as the case may be.
However, in a writ petition filed by a retired high court judge, the Gauhati High Court had held that the benefit of the additional quantum of pension in accordance with the High Court Judges Act would be available to a retired judge from the first day of his 80th year.
Subsequently, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh also directed respondent Union of India to construe the word "from" as it appears on the slab as the first day of entering the minimum age of the slab -- 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100 years -- along with other consequential benefits to the petitioners, the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill read.
The legislative intent behind the insertion of sections 17B and 16B respectively in the two Acts was to provide the benefit of additional quantum of pension to a retired judge from the first day of the month in which he completes the age specified in the first column of the scale and not from the first day of his entering the age specified therein as interpreted by the high courts, it said.
-With PTI Inputs