New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench on Tuesday asked the Union Government whether it has forgotten to increase the salary of judges of constitutional courts, whose emoluments are far less than bureaucrats after implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission’s recommendations.
During the hearing on a case relating to grant of washing allowance to apex court staff and officers, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazir asked additional solicitor general P S Narasimha, “What about the salary of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts which was to be brought at par with 7th Pay Commission recommendations for central government employees?”
The proposal to increase judges’s pay was accepted in principle by the Union government in March but has been pending further action. Salary of judges can be increased only through an amendment passed by Parliament.
After implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations, the highest ranking bureaucrat, the cabinet secretary, gets a salary of Rs 2.5 lakh apart from allowances.
Compared to this, the Chief Justice of India, who figures above the cabinet secretary in the table of precedence, draws a salary of Rs 1 lakh, excluding HRA, other allowances and perks. SC judges and chief justices of HCs get a salary of Rs 90,000 per month plus allowances. HC judges get a salary of Rs 80,000 per month along with allowances.
Prior to amendment of salary and service conditions of SC and HC judges by Parliament in 2009, SC judges and HC CJs got a salary of Rs 30,000 per month and HC judges got Rs 26,000 a month, both excluding allowances and perks. The CJI got a salary of Rs 33,000 per month.
In March, the Centre had substantially accepted a proposal, framed by a three-judge panel of the SC, and agreed to increase the CJI’s monthly salary to Rs 2.8 lakh, excluding allowances, and that of SC judges to Rs 2.5 lakh, in view of the steep increase in salary of top bureaucrats.
During the hearing on Tuesday, ASG Narasimha said he would take instruction from the government on this issue and get back to the court on November 14.