'Raise judges' retirement age to 70 yrs

A Delhi BJP leader and Supreme Court advocate, Ashwini Upadhyay, has urged the Prime Minister to raise the retirement age of judicial officers and judges to 70 years to reduce pendency of cases and retain the best talent.

A Delhi BJP leader and Supreme Court advocate, Ashwini Upadhyay, has urged the Prime Minister to raise the retirement age of judicial officers and judges to 70 years to reduce pendency of cases and retain the best talent.

In a representation, he said the country needs experienced judges to minimise judicial and procedural error and secure fundamental right of speedy justice, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“The Indian Judiciary would take 320 years to clear the backlog of about 31.28 million cases pending in various courts. The reason for the backlog is inadequate to judge strength, which is 13.05 judges per one million people, as against 58 per million in Australia, 75 in Canada, 100 in the United Kingdom and 130 per million in the United States of America,” he said.

In 2002, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to raise the judge-population ratio to 50 per million in a phased manner, as recommended by the Law Commission in its 120th report, he added.

“The department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel Public Grievances Law and Justice correctly refers to the problem caused by the early retirement of the judges. The result is that our finest judges are compelled to retire, instead of continuing to give valuable service to the nation,” Upadhyay said.

Last raise

He said the last time retirement age of High Court judges was raised was in 1963, from  60 to 62 years. The proposal to raise the retirement age further was mooted in 2008. The Union Cabinet gave its nod in 2010 for raising the retirement age of High Court and Supreme Court Judges. However, due to lack of political consensus, it was put on the backburner, he added.

Judges retired at 75 in the United Kingdom and Canada, at 70 years in Australia, Belgium and Norway. They served for a lifetime in the United States, Russia, New Zealand and Iceland, subject to physical and mental fitness.

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'Raise judges' retirement age to 70 yrs

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