Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to consider increasing the strength of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years.
CJI Gogoi, according to news agency PTI, also asked PM Modi to make tenure appointments of retired apex court judges and high court judges under Articles 128 and 224A of the Constitution respectively to clear the backlog of cases pending for years.
He wrote, “You would recall that way back in 1988, about three decades ago, the judge strength of the SC was increased from 18 to 26, and then again after two decades in 2009, it was increased to 31, including the CJI, to expedite disposal of cases to keep pace with the rate of institution… I request you to kindly consider, on top priority, to augment the judge-strength in the SC appropriately so that it can function more efficiently and effectively as it will go a long way to attain ultimate goal of rendering timely justice to the litigant public.”
However, the Centre may not agree to CJI Gogoi’s recommendations. An unnamed senior government official told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity that the issue had larger repercussions. The said official said, “Why should the retirement age of only high court judges be increased? Tomorrow, there will be a demand by Supreme Court judges, or members of the lower judiciary or constitutional authorities. Why should they be left out? If someone is healthy at 65 because of improved health care, it will apply to all.”
The retirement age for High Court judges is 62 years while the same for Supreme Court judges is 65 years under Articles 224(3) and 124(2) of the Constitution respectively. A report by Livelaw said that raising the retirement age will require a Constitutional amendment.