SC directs the constitution of a committee in each High Court to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of SNJPC

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While hearing the All India Judges Association vs. Union of India & Ors. case on January 04, 2024, the Supreme Court (SC) of India directed to constitute a committee in each High Court to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the ‘Second National Judicial Pay Commission’ (SNJPC). The bench hearing the matter, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice J.B. Pardiwala said that all the States and Union Territories should follow the direction. It added, “Disbursements on account of arrears of salary, pension, and allowances due and payable to judicial officers, retired judicial officers, and family pensioners shall be computed and paid on or before 29 February 2024.” The SC also directed that each Committee of the High Court should submit a report to the Supreme Court on or before April 07, 2024, through the Registrar General of the HC. 

During the court proceedings, the SC highlighted that equating judicial service with the service of other officers of the State is wholly inappropriate stating, “The functions, duties, restrictions, restraints operating during and after service are entirely distinct for members of the judicial service.” Furthermore, the bench illustrated the composition of the Committee, ‘Committee for Service Conditions of the District Judiciary’, to be constituted which is as follows:

  • “Two Judges of the High Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of which one should be a Judge who has previously served as a member of the district judiciary;
  • The law Secretary/Legal Remembrancer;
  • The Registrar General of the High Court who shall serve as an ex officio Secretary of the Committee; and 
  • A retired judicial officer in the cadre of District Judge to be nominated by the Chief Justice who shall act as a nodal officer for the day-to-day redressal of grievances.”

Along with this, various functions of the Committee were also listed by the bench, including overseeing proper implementation of the recommendations of the SNJPC, “chaired by Justice P V Reddy, former Judge of this Court of India on the revision of pay and pension for judicial officers” and many more. The top Court directed that the Chairperson of the Committee should be the senior most Judge nominated by the Chief Justice. It said, “The Chairperson may co-opt officers of the State Government, including the Secretaries in the Departments of Home, Finance, Health, Personnel, and Public Works, when issues concerning these departments are being deliberated upon and implemented. The Chairperson of the Committee may at their discretion co-opt the Accountant General to ensure due implementation of the recommendations of the SNJPC, as approved by this Court.” At last, the SC said that the constituted Committee should ensure that earlier orders of the top court regarding the payment of arrears of salary and pension have been implemented.