The Supreme Court Monday asked a PIL petitioner, seeking enhancement in the retirement age of judges at all levels of judiciary from subordinate courts to the apex court, to approach the government with his plea. “Now you are taking our cause… we convey our thanks to you. We can’t issue any mandamus,” a bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivan and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, while dismissing the PIL petition by advocate R.K.Kapoor.
Kapoor sought the enhancement of retirement age in subordinate judiciary from existing 60 years to 62 years, for high court judges from existing 62 years to 65 years and for apex court judges from 65 years to 68 years. As he pressed his plea seeking the court’s direction, Chief Justice Sathasivam told him that enhancing the retirement age of high court and apex court judges required an amendment to the constitution.
The court asked the petitioner to make a representation to the government and “the elected government and political parties taking into account pendency of cases may take a view on his plea”. Kapoor said that the Shetty Commission, the Justice Venkatachaliah Committee that was set to review the working of the constitution, and the Law Commission were reported to have favoured enhancing the retirement age of judges.
The PIL said the inaction on the part of the central and the state governments in not considering the enhancement of the retirement age, in particular that of the subordinate judges, is “arbitrary and violative of the provisions of Articles 14, 16 read with Article 51(h) of the Constitution of India, and also of the provisions of Article 141 and 144 of the Constitution…” The court dismissed the petition and asked Kapoor to take his plea to the government.