Parliamentary panel supports increasing retirement age of SC, HC judges


New Delhi: A parliamentary committee on Monday recommended a performance appraisal system for extending the tenure of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts beyond the existing retirement age.

At present, while Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65 years, judges of the 25 high courts demit office at 62.

The Standing Committee on Law and Personnel, in its report on ‘Judicial Processes and their Reforms’, also said that the practice of post-retirement assignments to SC and HC judges in bodies or institutions financed by public exchequer may be reassessed to ensure their impartiality.

It noted that many stakeholders had raised objections to the post-retirement assignments given to judges.

During the UPA-II, a bill was introduced in Lok Sabha to bring the retirement age of HC judges on par with SC judges. But the bill never came up for consideration and lapsed.

“… the Committee feels that the age of retirement of judges needs to be increased in sync with the increase in the longevity and advancement in medical sciences leading to improved health of the population.

“The Committee, accordingly, recommends that relevant Articles of the Constitution of India need to be amended and the age of retirement of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts may be increased appropriately,” the report said.

According to the Committee headed by BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi, while increasing the age of retirement of judges, the performance of judges may be reassessed based on their health conditions, quality of judgements and the number of judgments delivered.

“For this, a system of appraisal may be devised and put in place by the Supreme Court collegium before any judge is recommended for enhancement of their tenure,” the report said.

According to the report, as of now, there is no proposal to increase the retirement age of judges of the high courts.

“They (the government) have further informed that any requirement for increasing the retirement age of high court judges in the future will be considered by the government at an appropriate time in consultation with the various stakeholders,” it noted.

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