Ganguly for increasing retirement age of SC, HC judges

Ganguly for increasing retirement age of SC, HC judges

Justice A K Ganguly, who retired as Supreme Court judge after delivering the 2G verdict, feels there is a strong case for increasing the age of superannuation of apex court judges, saying the 65 year age limit has been "unreasonably fixed".

"A judge is not a football player, i.e physical prowess is not a prime requisite (to be a judge)," said Ganguly expressing his views on superannuation of apex court judges.
He said "the position of a judge is one of maturity and wisdom" and the retirement age of a judge should be "much more flexible" as "before he gets to know the scheme of things" he has to demit office.

Justice Ganguly, who was part of the bench which cancelled the 122 licences for 2G spectrum, said the tenure of the judge in the Supreme Court is "rather short" which is not the case in major democratic countries in the world.

"While I say this for the Supreme Court judge, the same should be true about high court judges also. The position of a judge is one of maturity and wisdom. It is accepted universally that with age the level of maturity and wisdom reached. A judge is not a fotball player. That is physical prowess is not a prime requisite," he told PTI in an interview.

Asked whether there should be an upper age limit of retirement for an apex court judge, he said, "I am not suggesting that. But retirement age of a judge should be much more flexible".

Considering the increased longevity of human beings in recent years, 65 years for a Supreme Court judge and 62 years for a High Court judge to retire "in my opinion has been unreasonably fixed".

Asked what he thought could be the retirement age for judges, Justice Ganguly said it is for the authorities concerned to do the research and come to opinion.

"I cannot suggest it straight away. I would expect that the authorities concerned would make a study about the prevailing age of retirement of the judges of the superior judiciary in different countries in the world with proper research on this aspect and they come with considered opinion," Justice Ganguly said.

Speaking about his tenure, which began on the eve of Christmas in the 2008 and ended on February 2, he said it was rather a "short" tenure and he got only 3-4 months as a presiding judge.

He gave the example of the US where only three vacancies occured in the last 25 years.
"In our Supreme Court within a span of last 7-8 months about 10 judges have retired. To my mind this is not a very desirable state of affair," the former judge said.

"I am not talking of myself but I am talking on principles. The functioning of the Supreme Court is substantially different from that of a High Court.

"A judge is appointed in Supreme Court and before he gets to know the scheme of things he has to retire. At least this has happened with me. I got 3-4 months time as a presiding judge in Supreme Court. It is very short time for a judge to make a mark but I have tried. There have been judges who have succeeded in making a mark," Justice Ganguly said.