Amid an ongoing debate on vacancies in the higher judiciary, government has preferred to maintain silence on bringing afresh a bill to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years.
Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday on whether any proposal for extension of retirement age of high court judges is under consideration of government, Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary said in a written reply that a bill brought by the previous UPA government in 2010 lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014. “The Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010 which provided for increasing the retirement age of High Court Judges from 62 years to 65 years was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 25, 2010. Thereafter, the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for examination and report, which recommended that the proposed bill in its present form should be passed without delay.
“The Bill could not be taken up for consideration and passing in the Parliament and lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha,” he said. The UPA proposal had sought to bring at par the retirement age of HC judges with that of Supreme Court judges at 65. At a time when the 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges, the government and the judiciary have agreed that an extraordinary provision of the Constitution can now be invoked to appoint retired judges with proven integrity and track record as judges of HC to tackle rising pendency.