Why must you throw your weight around: Chief Justice advises judges

  • Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2016 23:58 IST
A file photo of Chief Justice of India TS Thakur. (PTI Photo)

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur has a piece of advice for judges: stay anonymous and don’t throw your weight around.

“Why does one have to throw his weight around and tell everyone I am a judge. Being anonymous has its own advantages,” he remarked on Tuesday when told that a retired judge had to stand in queue in a hospital when he went there for treatment.

Justice Thakur was hearing a petition related to computation of pension for high court judges who were appointed from among advocates. “One must learn to stand in a line when going to a restaurant to purchase a burger. There is nothing wrong in that,” the CJI said.

The top court is monitoring the implementation of its 2014 judgment that removed a 60-year-old disparity in computation of pension for two categories of HC judges - those who get promoted from lower courts and others who were elevated from the bar.

High court judges who come from subordinate courts got pension for the entire period of service, including the time they worked as judicial officers, even if their tenure as a HC judge was just for three years. But advocates appointed as high court judges had their pension computed taking into account their period of service. This meant a lawyer appointed as a judge a decade before reaching the retirement age of 62 got pension only for 10 years. As a result lawyers who became judges directly drew meagre pensions compared to those promoted from judicial service.

Allowing petitions seeking parity in pension for HC judges, the SC had ordered that 10 years practice as an advocate be added as a qualifying service for judges elevated from the Bar.

Appearing for the retired HC judges’ association, senior advocate PH Parekh said barring four states all the others had implemented the SC verdict.

With regard to Delhi, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said the government was unable to notify the new rules because the HC judges were demanding a higher scale than the one SC fixed. He asked the SC to intervene and resolve the issue.

But the bench declined. It said the SC judgment had fixed a minimum scale. “If you want to give more you can. And if they (judges) are demanding more let them fight it out,” said the court.

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