Salary of Judges

It refers to newspaper-advertisements appearing on January 22 by Rajya Sabha Secretariat whereby Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice has invited views of individuals/organisations on ‘The high Court and supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2008’. It is senseless to fulfil formality of inviting suggestions when the changes…

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It refers to newspaper-advertisements appearing on January 22 by Rajya Sabha Secretariat whereby Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice has invited views of individuals/organisations on ‘The high Court and supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2008’. It is senseless to fulfil formality of inviting suggestions when the changes including salary-hike listed in draft-bill have already been effected through an ordinance. Ordinance could be postponed at least till usual procedures before passing the bill including inviting public comments were completed.

Any increase in salaries, pensions and other facilities of judges from higher courts should only be effected simultaneously with other reforms in judicial system like constitution of National Judicial Commission for appointment and probe of complaints of judges. In view of recent controversy on declaration of wealth and assets by judges, provision for making wealth and assets of judges and their family-members public should be made. Rather provision of declaring gifts received by them and revealing personal expenses made above rupees 20,000 should also be made. It may be noted that USA has a system where judges have to make their wealth and assets public apart from declaring received gifts worth above 50 US dollars. If India has a system for government-servants to reveal personal expenses exceeding rupees 20000 to their departmental heads, same should be for all those (including judges) drawing salaries from the public-exchequer.

Subhash Chandra Agrawal

Delhi