Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (File Photo)
New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has sent a proposal to increase the retirement age of high court judges to reduce pendency of cases, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday told Rajya Sabha.
The minister, however, did not respond in either yes or no to a question on "whether the government is considering to raise the retirement age of high court judges".
In a written reply, Prasad said CJI Ranjan Gogoi has sent the proposal to ensure continued availability of more experienced judges for a longer tenure to improve the vacancy position and reduce the pendency of cases.
A constitutional amendment bill moved by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years had lapsed as it never came up for discussion or voting.
Prasad said as on July 1, there are 403 vacancies in the 25 high courts.
He said initiation of proposal for appointment of judges in the high courts vests with the chief justice of high court.
As per the Memorandum of Procedure, the chief justice of high court is required to initiate the proposals for filling up of vacancies of judges in the high court six months prior to the occurrence of vacancies "but this timeline is rarely adhered to", the Law minister said.
"Appointment of judges in the high courts is a continuous collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary, as it requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at the state and the Centre-level. Hence, the timeline for filling up of the vacancies cannot be indicated.
"While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges and increase in judge strength," he said.