SC sets up panel to review pay structure of trial court judges
The Supreme Court has appointed a three-member commission headed by its former judge Justice P Venkatarama Reddy to review and rationalise the pay structures and other emoluments of judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary across the country with respect to civil servants.
The apex court directed the commission to collect data with regard to pay structures of judicial officers of lower judiciary and submit its report with appropriate recommendations, preferably within 18 months.
According to Supreme Court report, as on December 31, 2015, the sanctioned strength of judicial officers across the country was 20,558.
"We deem it appropriate to appoint a Commission to be headed by Justice P Venkatarama Reddy, a former Judge of this Court, who would act as a Chairman of the Commission, and R Basant, a former Judge of the Kerala High Court and a senior advocate of this court, to be the member of the commission," a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer said.
According to the terms of reference, the commission will look into the aspect of evolving "the principles which should govern the structure of pay and other emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the sub-ordinate judiciary all over the country".
The bench said that as per the term of reference, "the commission would also examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the states and union territories taking into account the total packet of benefits available to them."
It said that the commission would also make suitable recommendations with regard to post-retirement benefits such as pension, to the existing relativities in the pay structure between officers belonging to subordinate judicial services vis-a-vis other civil servant and mechanism for redressal of grievances in this regard.
"The commission would also examine the work methods and environment as also the variety of allowance and benefits in kind that are available to judicial officers in addition to pay and suggest rationalisation and simplification thereof with view to promoting efficiency in judicial administration, optimising the size of judiciary and remove anomalies created in implementation of earlier recommendations," it said.
The bench said the commission would also recommend a mechanism for setting up of a permanent system to review the pay and service conditions of members of subordinate judiciary periodically by an independent commission exclusively constituted for the purpose and the composition of such commission should reflect adequate representation on behalf of the judiciary.
The bench said the commission will also examine and recommend such interim relief as it considers just and proper to all categories of Judicial Officers of all the states/union territories.
"The interim relief, if recommended, shall have to be fully adjusted against and included in the package which may become admissible to the Judicial Officers on the final recommendations of the Commission," the bench said.