31.28 Million Legal Cases Pending, BJP Leader Urges PM Modi To Raise Retirement Age of Judges

| June 29 , 2018 , 16:31 IST

BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge him to increase the retirement age of judges from the current 62 years to 70 years to tide over the case delays in the Indian judiciary. Currently, 31.28 million legal cases pending in various courts of India, which would take nearly 320 years to clear.

The advocate argues that with the present retirement age, “the bench loses tremendous experience when judges are forced to retire before their septuagenarian year".

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Upadhyay gave the example of the international norm which has judges working at the age of 70 years and even 75 years.

“Judges retire at the age of 75 years in United Kingdom and Canada and at the age of 70 years in Australia, Belgium and Norway and work for lifetime in United States, Russia, New Zealand and Iceland, subject to physical and mental fitness,” reads the letter.

“The Indian Judiciary would take 320 years to clear the backlog of about 31.28 million cases pending in various courts in India. The reason for backlog of cases pending is inadequate judge strength which is 13.05 judges per one million people, as against Australia 58 per million in Canada's 75, the United Kingdom 100 and the United States of America 130 per million,” reads the letter.

In India, the last change in retirement age for High Court judges was made in 1963, when the retirement age was increased from 60 to 62 years. A proposal was made to hike the retirement age further in 2008, but the proposal was mooted by the then Law Minister HR Bhardwaj. In 2010, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for legislation to raise the retirement age of High Court and Supreme Court judges, however, due to lack of political consensus the legislation was not cleared.