Former Supreme Court (SC) judges can now hire domestic help at public expense.
The Supreme Court this week framed rules to reimburse the salary of one domestic help hired by a retired Chief Justice of India and SC judges.
The rules also provide for absorbing the domestic help as a permanent employee of the court if he or she serves the retired judge or spouse for 10 years.
The SC order came into effect on Friday.
The rule enables peons serving the Supreme Court establishment to opt for working at a retired judge’s residence. But the retired judges are free to hire anyone on contract at the dearness allowance adjusted to minimum scale.
Surviving spouses of the retired judges would also be entitled to the reimbursement.
The demand for reimbursement for domestic helps for judicial officers had found support from the First National Judicial Pay Commission set up way back in 1996. This commission had called retired judicial officers standing in queues to pay power and water bills a “pathetic scene, if not embarrassing.”
In its 1999 report, it recommended a monthly ‘domestic help allowance’ of Rs 2,500 for serving judicial officers and Rs 1,250 for retired officers. But the higher judiciary got left out in many states.
The Chief Justices’ Conference in April this year had cleared a resolution to give retired judges of the high courts and Supreme Court the reimbursement facility for one domestic help. Some high courts such as the Jammu & Kashmir high court have already notified a similar set of rules.
But senior government functionaries such as the chief election commissioner or Central Vigilance Commissioner – whose pay and perks are at par with Supreme Court judges – cannot expect to receive the reimbursement facility.
The chief election commissioner is entitled to pay and pension at par with a SC judge as long as these are notified under the Supreme Court Judges (Conditions of Service) Act. Friday’s order framing the reimbursement rules for domestic help was not issued under this law. The CJI has powers under Article 145 (2) of the Constitution to notify issues relating to service conditions of the court’s “officers and servants”.