SC and HC Judges Retirement Ages

The News

The Law ministry said there is no proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 to 67 and High Court judges from 62 to 65.

  • The Ministry reply on a recommendation made Parliament Standing Committee to raise the retirement ages of judges. It would help in retaining the existing judges, which further result in reducing vacancy and pendency of cases in short run.
  • The committee also highlight the life expectancy which is increase in last few years.

Historical Background

  • The National Commission to review the working of Constitution, 2002. It is popularly known as The Venkatachaliah Report, the report recommended that the retirement age of judges for High Court increased to 65 and for Judges of Supreme Court to the 68 years.
  • In August 2010 then law minister introduced the 114th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2010 in Lok Sabha to increase retirement age of high court judges to 65. The bill could not be passed due to dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha.
  • Justice Kurian Joseph of Supreme Court also recommended, increasing the retirement age of judges of higher can decrease the pendency of cases.
  • However, one school of thoughts said the retirement age 65 is fine at this stage the physical, mental behavior function properly. A person can deliver justice without affected by their age problem.

Shortage of judges and No of High Courts

  • In India there 24 High court and 25th start functioning from 1st jan 2019 for Telangana.
  • The sanction strength of judges is 1079 for 24 HC but only 695 post filled so far.

Higher age in Judiciary in other countries

  • The judges are appointed for life in constitutional court of Austria and Greece and in supreme Court of United States of America.
  • The retirement age for judges is 70 in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Netherland and Australia.
  • India also considering to increase the retirement age judges of high courts and supreme court.
  • Experience judges can deliver fast and unbiased justice to people. The lower judiciary judgment rarely challenged in higher court.

Why need increment in retirement age

  • The judges population ratio in India is 19.66 judges per million people as of today, which is lowest in world.
  • In august 2016, one of report said no.of judges per million people in US had107,Canada had 75, UK had 51 and  Australia had 41.
  • According to National Judicial Data grid ,more than 2.84 crore cases are pending before the subordinate courts, 43 lakh cases pending before high courts and 57987 cases are pending before Supreme court.
  • As the population increases fragmentation of land, property, family and society also increases it lead to dispute and pendency of cases.
  • In India there is delay in judicial process and large no of state and central laws.
  • The witness not willing to come forward and delay in medical, forensic reports. These thing required expertise judgment.

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Other Judicial process

  • The National Green Tribunal 2011. It is set up by legislation to help in delivering environment related cases. These tribunals delivered speedy judgment. Theappeal before Supreme Court only. NGT having only retire judges from supreme court and high court. Why do not SC and HC have higher retiring ages.
  • In Feb 2018 The National Lok Adalat has solved appr 12 lakh cases with appr amount of Rs 2343 is single day case solving process. In include District courts, High courts, and SCalso. Appeal before supreme court only.

Benefits of Senior Judiciary

  • The experience judiciary can deliver fast, speedy, unbiased and expertise judgment.
  • The litigant or lawyer can not delay the proceeding by false claims
  • They can train new judges and reduce the cost of expenditure.
  • Pendency of cases will be decreased and unbiased judgment not lead to repeal in higher courts.

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Constitutional Provision for appointing judges

  • The judges of Supreme court and High Court appointed under Article 125 and Article 217 respectively. There is no provision for any caste or class or gender.
  • The provision of reservation for women need amendments in this article 125 and article 217.


The senior judges can deliver effective judgments but increasing retirement age is not the solution to reduce pendency of cases. First of all fill all the vacancy and train the new judges and delivered the stringent punishment for defaulters. It will reduce no cases. Use innovative technological means to integrate the case and segregate similar kind of cases. If there is need to create a bench of new High Court, it must be created.

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