The government on Monday said it was not considering any proposal to increase the retirement age of judges, putting an end to months of speculation in the political and legal circles on the issue.
"Government at present is not considering to increase the age of retirement of judges. Increasing the age would require amendments in the Constitution in accordance with the procedure," Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily informed the Rajya Sabha. Such a move would require amendments in "Articles 124, 217 and 368 (2) of the Constitution", he replied to the question of Congress MP B K Hariprasad.
Moily's reply put an end to the intense speculation that the UPA government had planned to enhance the tenure of present Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan by three years. He retires on May 12.
This is for the first time that the government has categorically stated that the retirement age of Supreme Court judges
would not be increased to 68 years from the current 65.
It is believed that the UPA tried to approach the Opposition on the subject, but beat a hasty retreat finding no takers.
Moily, in his reply, however, did not elaborate whether the government had dropped plans to enhance the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65. There is no opposition to the move, and political parties appear to be in favour of this.
The UPA government, in its first tenure, had said it was considering a proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court and high court judges.