The Supreme Court, emphasising the need of revising the pay structure for judicial officers, ordered the adoption of the improved pay scale suggested by the Second National Judicial Pay Commission on Wednesday, with effect from January 1, 2016.
The following is the order issued by the bench:
"We are of the view that the revision of pay structure indicated in Table 1 shall be accepted.The same shall be implemented with effect from 01.01.2016. Judicial officers have been provided interim relief of 30%. Therefore, the arrears shall be computed by adjusting the interim relief and the balance of 25% be paid in cash within a period of 3 months and another within a period of another 3 months, balance 50% to be paid in the first quarter of 2023"
The bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli further asked the Center and the States to pay the officers' arrears in three instalments: 25% in three months, another 25% in three months, and the remaining by June 30, 2023.
The Supreme Court further stated that it was critical to revise the compensation structure promptly because judicial officers were not covered by the Pay Commission established by the state and centre.
"In fact, pay scales for government employees are raised once every five years in some states and once every ten years in the central government. Judicial officers are not covered by the compensation commissions established by the states and the federal government. As a result, there is an urgent need to alter the wage structure "According to the bench's order.
The Supreme Court gave the directives while examining a petition by the All India Judges Association for the formation of an All India Judicial Commission to assess the service conditions of district judiciary judges. On January 6, 2022, the Court stated that the two items pending consideration were pay scales for the subordinate judiciary and pensionary/retiral benefits.
The Apex Court established the Second National Judicial Pay Commission in 2017 to review the pay scale and other conditions of Judicial Officers from the subordinate judiciary across the country. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice PV Reddy was chosen as Chairman of the commission, while former Kerala High Court Judge and Senior Supreme Court counsel R.Basant was selected as a member by the Bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Abdul Nazeer.
In today's hearing, amicus curiae and Advocate K Parameshwar argued that the judges were entitled to a revised pay scale based on the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission. He also called states' unwillingness to pay the revised compensation to cops due to a lack of cash "unjust." He further stated that the Supreme Court had previously constituted a committee led by Justice E Padmanabhan to determine the pay scales of all Judicial Officers serving and retired across the country, which had recommended the change.
"This objection of all the states that they don't have money to pay the judicial officers is unjust," the counsel added, arguing that the Court had granted interim relief by directing that a 30 per cent increase in basic pay with accrued increments be paid to all categories/ranks of Judicial Officers.
Considering amicus briefs, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana expressed his preference for the amended pay scale to be implemented beginning in 2016.
"We are not going to wait indefinitely, especially given the 6.5-year delay. They've been waiting since 2016. In terms of the salary scale, we are currently implementing "The CJI made a remark.