Govt not averse to raising trial judges' retirement age

The Delhi government has told the Supreme Court it could consider raising the retirement age of trial court judges from 60 to 62 according to Law Commission’s recommendation, but the proposal has to come from the Delhi High Court.

The district courts, which function under the direct control of the HC, are working with 271 vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 758 judges in Delhi Judicial Services (DJS) and Delhi Higher Judicial Services (DHJS).

In its response to the Law Commission’s recommendations on increasing the judges’ strength to dispose of backlog in a three-year time frame, the government of National Capital Territory submitted that the Delhi HC is primarily responsible for the recruitment to the posts of judges in district courts.

“The process of recruitment of judicial officers is initiated and completed by the HC and the notifications regarding appointment to the DHJS and the DJS are issued by the Government of NCT Delhi only on the recommendations of the HC of Delhi after shortlisting of the candidates,” the affidavit filed by Law Department said.

The sanctioned strength of DJS is 482 and the DHJS is 276. However, at present, as many as 271 posts – 41 in DHJS and 230 in DJS cadre – are lying vacant.

The process for creation of 22 additional posts of DHJS and 38 additional posts of DJS has already been initiated, it said.

With regard to raising the age of judges, it said the rules may be amended by the administrator in consultation with the HC. However, as per the judicial precedents a recommendation in this respect should ordinarily emanate from the HC, it added.

The government also pointed out that the matter regarding creation of special courts for traffic and police challans was being examined by a committee of the HC, which would be considered as and when recommendations were made.

In its report, the Law Commission has sought appropriate directions from the apex court while highlighting the need for fixing rational, non-mandatory timeframes for different types of cases and using such time frames as basis for setting judicial performance standards, litigants’ expectations and making more robust policy recommendation for the judiciary.

“For timely disposal of cases at all levels of judicial system, the HC is actively considering case flow management rules for it as well as for courts subordinate to it.

The Delhi district courts function under the control of the Delhi HC. The recommendations of the HC will be put up to Lt Governor of Delhi for implementation,” it said.

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