The Supreme Court issued an order on Wednesday ordering the implementation of an enhanced pay scale for judicial officers across the country with retroactive effect from January 1, 2016, as recommended by the Second National Judicial Pay Commission, stating that it will not wait ‘indefinitely’. A bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana stated that the pay structure revision should take effect immediately because judicial officers are not covered by any pay commissions of the Centre or states, and that the arrears will be paid in three instalments.
‘We are not going to wait indefinitely (for the implementation of the second national judicial pay panel’s recommendations),… and it is 6.5 years of delay. They have been patient since 2016. We are implementing the pay scale,’ CJI Ramana stated at the start of the hearing. Several states have been slow to implement the recommendations, citing a lack of resources.
“The revised pay structure shown in Table 1 will be accepted and implemented on January 1, 2016. ‘ Arrears will be calculated by adjusting interim relief, and the balance of 25% will be paid in cash within three months, followed by another 25% within three months, and the remaining 50% will be paid in the first quarter of 2023,’ said the bench which also comprised justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition from the ‘All India Judges Association,’ which raised several issues, including the review of judicial officers’ service conditions. As an amicus curiae, lawyer K Parameshwar argued that judicial officers were entitled to a revised pay scale based on the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission, and that denying this due to a lack of funds was ‘unjust’.
The salary of government employees is revised on a regular basis, according to the bench, who added, ‘Judicial officers are not covered by any Pay Commission constituted by states and the Centre, and thus there is an urgent need to revise pay structure immediately’. The Supreme Court established the second judicial pay panel in 2017 to review the pay scale and other conditions of judicial officers in the country.