Prenatal History of the Commission :
1.1 Though there has been separation of
judiciary from the executive, and though the powers and functions of Judicial
Officers are quite different from powers and functions of the Executive
Officers, the service conditions of Judicial Officers, however, have been tagged
with those of the corresponding Executive Officers. Even the scales of pay of
the Judicial Officers were related or made identical with the pay scales of the
corresponding level of Executive Officers of the State Civil Service.
1.2 The repeated efforts of the Judicial
Officers to get an improved service conditions and delink their pay scales from
the corresponding Executive Cadres became successful. The State Governments did
not accede to their request.
1.3 In 1989, the All India Judges’
Association and its Working President, filed Writ Petition (Civil) No.1022 of
1989 before the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution
seeking many reliefs as to improve the conditions of service of subordinate
Judicial Officers all over the country. But during the hearing of the petition,
only the following reliefs were highlighted:
( i ) Uniformity in
the Judicial cadres in different States and
( ii ) An
appropriate enhanced uniform age of retirement for the Judicial Officers
through-out the country;
( iii ) Uniform pay
scales as far as possible to be fixed;
( iv ) Residential accommodation to be provided to every Judicial Officer;
(v) Transport facility to be made available and conveyance allowance provided;
(vi) Adequate perks by way of Library Allowance, Residential Office Allowance, and Sumptuary Allowance to be provided;
(vii) Provision for inservice training to be made.
The Judgment of the Supreme Court in the All
1.4 A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court,
after hearing the representatives of the Union of India, all the States and
(a) An All India Judicial Service should be set up and the Union of India should take appropriate steps in this regard.
(b) Steps should be taken to bring about uniformity in designation of Officers both in civil and the criminal side by 31-3-1993.
(c) Retirement age of judicial officers be raised to 60 years and appropriate steps are to be taken by 31-12-1992.
As and when the Pay Commissions /
Committees are set up in the States and
(e) The District Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate should be given Rs.300/- and Rs.200/- respectively as Sumptuary Allowance per month.
(f) Government accommodation for residence to every judicial officer has to be provided and until State accommodation is available, the State at the instance of the High Court should provide requisitioned accommodation according to entitlement and the recovery of not more than 12 ½% of salary of the Officer towards rent should be made and the balance must be met by the Exchequer.
(g) The residential accommodation must be spacious enough to have a separate room for office purpose.
(h) Every Judicial Officer must be provided with uniform pattern of small library in his official residence and the District Judge should have provision made in his budget for the purpose.
(i) Every District Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate should have a State vehicle. Judicial Officers in sets of 5 should have a pool vehicle and others would be entitled to suitable loans to acquire two wheeler automobiles within different time-limits as specified.
Institute should be set up within one year at the Central and State or
Review filed :
1.5 The Union of
(i) The power to prescribe service conditions is vested in the executive and the legislature. The Supreme Court by issuing the directions in question prescribing the separate conditions of service has impinged upon the field exclusively assigned by the Constitution to the Executive and the legislature.
(ii) The service conditions of the State employees and the Judicial Officers are periodically reviewed by independent Pay Commissions constituted for the purpose.
(iii) There is nothing distinguishable about the judicial work, and if the directions given by the Supreme Court are followed, the other services would also demand similar service conditions. That would place a very heavy financial burden on the public exchequer.
(iv) The financial
resources of all the States are not equal and some of the States would be unable
to bear the financial burden by giving higher pay scales and other perquisites
to the Judicial Officers.
Review Judgment of the Supreme Court2 :
1.6 Another three Judge Bench of the Supreme
Court, Ranganatha Misra, Chief Justice, since retired, after carefully examining
the contentions raised by the Review Petitioners, delivered the judgment on 24
August 1993 modifying some of the reliefs given in the original judgment, while
giving additional reliefs, P.B. Sawant J., who spoke for the Bench, inter alia,
Service is not service in the sense of ‘employment’. The judges are not
employees. As members of the judiciary they exercise the sovereign judicial
power of the State. They are holders of the public offices in the same way as
the members of the council of ministers and the members of the legislature. When
it is said that in a democracy such as ours, the executive, the legislature and
the judiciary constitute the three pillars of the State, what is intended to be
conveyed is that the three essential functions of the State are entrusted to the
three organs of the State and each one of them in turn represents the authority
of the State. However, those who exercise the State-power are the ministers, the
legislators and the judges, and not the members of their staff who implement or
assist in implementing their decisions."
The learned Judge
" The Judges,
at whatever level they may be, represent the State and its authority unlike the
administrative executive or the members of the other services. The members of
the other services, therefore, cannot be placed on par with the members of the
judiciary, either constitutionally or functionally."
He went on:
"With the inauguration of the Constitution and the separation of the State power distributed among the three branches, the continuation of the linkage has become anachronistic and is inconsistent with the constitutional provisions. As pointed out earlier, the parity in status is no longer between the judiciary and the administrative executive but between the judiciary and the political executive. Under the Constitution, the judiciary is above the administrative executive and any attempt to place it on par with the administrative executive has to be discouraged. The failure to grasp this simple truth is responsible for the contention that the service conditions of the judiciary must be comparable to those of the administrative executive and any amelioration in the service conditions of the former must necessarily lead to the comparable improvement in the service conditions of the latter."
He pertinently remarked:
" xxx xxx xxx
Hence the earlier approach of comparison between the service conditions of the judges and those of the administrative executive has to be abandoned and the service conditions of the judges which are wrongly linked to those of the administrative executive have to be revised to meet the special needs of the judicial service."
He also observed:
" Further, since the work of the judicial officers throughout the country is of the some nature, the service conditions have to be uniform."
Finally, the learned judge emphasised:
" We have also emphasised earlier the necessity of entrusting the work of prescribing the service conditions for the judicial officers to a separate Pay Commission exclusively set up for the purpose. Hence we reiterate the importance of such separate Commission and also of the desirability of prescribing uniform pay scales to the judges all over the country. Since such pay scales will be the minimum deserved by the judicial officers, the argument that some of the States may not be able to bear the financial burden is irrelevant."
1.7 For immediate reference, the views expressed in the aforesaid Review Judgment may briefly be summarised as follows:
(a) The legal practice of three years should be made one of the essential qualifications for recruitment to the judicial posts at the lowest rung in the judicial hierarchy.
Wherever the recruitment of the judicial officers at the lowest rung is made through the Public Service Commission, a representative of the High Court should be associated with the selection process and his advice should prevail unless there are strong and cogent reasons for not accepting it, which reasons should be recorded in writing.
The Superannuation age of every
subordinate judicial officer shall stand extended up to 60 years, but the
respective High Courts should assess and evaluate the record of the judicial
officer for his continued utility well within time before he attains the age of
58 years by following the procedure for the compulsory retirement under the
Service Rules applicable to him and give him the benefit of the extended
superannuation age from 58 to 60 years only if he is found fit and eligible to
continue in service. In case he is not found fit and eligible, he should be
compulsorily retired on his attaining the age of 58 years. Those judicial
officers who are not desirous of availing of the superannuation age of 60 years,
have the right to opt out at 58 years by proper intimation to the High Court
before they attain 57 years.
(c) The direction for granting sumptuary allowance to the District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates stands withdrawn for the reasons given earlier.
(d) The direction with regard to the grant of residence-cum-library allowance will cease to operate when the respective State Governments / Union Territory Administrations start providing the Courts with the necessary law books and journals in consultation with the respective High Courts.
(e) The Principal District Judge or Principal Judge at each district headquarters or the metropolitan town and the Chief Judicial Magistrate and the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate will be entitled to independent vehicles with the free petrol subject to maximum of 100 litres per month in consultation with the High Courts. The rest of the Judges and Magistrates will be entitled to pool vehicles - one for every five judges for transport from residence to Court and back. Where pool vehicle cannot be provided or judges desire loan for purchasing two wheelers, they should be given loans on suitable terms and also the conveyance allowance.
(f) In view of the
establishment of the
(g) There should be uniform pay scales to subordinate judges all over the country and such scales should be delinked to the pay scales of the Executive Officers.
(h) There should be separate Commission for determining the pay scales of the judicial officers.
(i) The States should not plead financial constraint if the pay scales of the judicial officers are enhanced delinking the same from that of the corresponding executive officers.
(j) The rest of the directions given in the original judgment are maintained.
Constitution of the Commission :
1.8 In pursuance of the above directions of the Supreme Court, the Government of India by Resolution dated 21 March 1996 constituted the FIRST NATIONAL JUDICIAL PAY COMMISSION for the Subordinate Judiciary all over the country with the following terms of reference :
(a) To evolve the principles which should govern the structure of pay and other emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the Subordinate Judiciary all over the country.
(b) To examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the States and UTs taking into account the total packet of benefits available to them and make suitable recommendations having regard, among other relevant factors, to the existing relativities in the pay structure between the officers belonging to subordinate judicial service vis-a-vis other civil servants.
(c) To examine and recommend in respect of minimum qualifications, age of recruitment, method of recruitment etc., for Judicial Officers. In this context, the relevant provisions of the Constitution and direction of the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Association Case and in other cases may be kept in view.
(d) To examine the work methods and work environment as also the variety of allowances and benefits in kind that are available to Judicial Officers in addition to pay and to suggest rationalisation and simplification thereof with a view to promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimising the size of the Judiciary etc..
Composition of the Commission :
1. Chairman - Mr. Justice K. Jagannatha Shetty
(Former Judge, Supreme Court)
2. Member - Mr. Justice P.K. Bahri
3. Member-Secretary - Mr. K.R. Chamayya
(Rtd. Chairman of State Admistrative Tribunal)
1.10 On 2nd April 1996, Mr. K.R. Chamayya assumed office as Member Secretary of the Commission.
1.11 On 24th April 1996, Mr. Justice P.K. Bahri (Rtd.) assumed office as Member of the Commission.
1.12 On 1st June 1996, the Chairman of the Commission assumed office.
1.13 On 27th August 1996, Mr. K.R. Chamayya resigned as Member-Secretary and in his place, Mr. Justice A.B. Murgod, retired Judge of the Karnataka High Court was appointed, and he took charge on 28 August 1996, as Member-Secretary of the Commission.
The Commissioning of the Commission :
1.14 Though the Commission was
constituted in March 1996, it could not be made immediately functional for want
of office, finance and staff.
1.15 On 8 May 1996, the Chief Justice of the
Karnataka High Court, at the personal request of the Chairman of the Commission,
was pleased to make available the premises for establishing the office of the
Commission in the newly built Annexe to the City Civil Court Complex at the
1.16 The Commission has been authorised to devise its own procedure and appoint such advisers, institutional consultants and experts as it may consider necessary for any particular purpose. The Commission may call for such information and take such evidence as it may consider necessary.
1.17 All State Governments, UT Administrations and the Ministries/ Departments of the Central Government are required to furnish such information, documents and other assistance as called for by the Commission.
1.18 Regarding the staff, the Commission has not been given power to recruit them from open market. The Commission was asked to recruit personnel with the "Surplus Cell" of the Government of India. After protracted correspondence, the Commission found that there was no suitable person for its requirement in the "Surplus Cell".
1.19 There then, Government allowed the Commission to appoint the staff, either by deputation from other departments or re-employment of retired persons. The Commission, however, could not secure the services on deputation save in three cases. The Commission was left with no alternative except to appoint retired persons. Literally, the Commission had to chase the retired persons who are below 60 years since if they are above 60 years, the special permission has to be obtained from the Central Government. In view of this constraint, even-to-day some of the posts are lying vacant for want of such retired persons.
1.20 Regarding finance, it was only on 22
August 1996, the first Letter of Credit was received from the Government for a
sum of Rs.7.50 lakhs and the first cheque book was received for the disbursement
of the said amount on 9 September 1996. But that amount was hardly sufficient
for payment of the bill of C.P.W.D. and to purchase necessary office equipments.
1.21 After recruiting the skeleton staff in
the aforesaid manner, the Commission became partially functional at the fag end
of December 1996.
1.22 The Main Office of the Commission is
The Task of the COMMISSION :
1.23 The terms of reference to the Commission
are all embracing. It is just not determining the pay scales of and conferring
certain financial benefits to Judicial Officers as the name of the Commission
purports to indicate. The work includes, among others, the restructuring the
multiple judicial cadres into three uniform cadres, prescribing uniform
jurisdictions, determining uniform pay scales. The Commission is also concerned
with Recruitment, Training, Work Methods and Work Environment of Judicial
Collection of Material :
1.24 The Commission is not on the trodden
ground but on the virgin field. It has no material to fall back upon. Since it
is a first of its kind, even preliminary particulars have to be gathered for
preparing the Questionnaire. Even before establishing the Commission’s office,
the Chairman addressed a circular letter dated 31 July 1996 to all the Chief
Justices of the High Courts requesting them to furnish certain information
pertaining to their Judicial Officers in the prescribed format. The information
started trickling from September 1996 right upto the end of February 1997. In
the meanwhile, the Chairman visited
1.25 After collecting preliminary material, a comprehensive Questionnaire covering the terms of reference was prepared. On 15 March 1997, the Questionnaire was released by Mr. Justice R.P. Sethi, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. The Questionnaire has been given wide publicity in print and electronic media so that it may come to the notice of all the Judicial Officers all over the country. The Questionnaire was also sent to all High Courts, State Governments, Judicial Officers’ Associations, Bar Associations, Bar Council of India, Jurists and Others, seeking their views.
Replies to the Questionnaire :
1.26 Almost all the Associations of Judicial Officers have promptly responded to the Questionnaire during the period from 4 June 1997 to 29 December 1997.
1.27 But the High Courts took their own time
to express their views on the Questionnaire. The High Courts of Himachal
1.28 The remaining 8 High Courts namely,
1.29 Most of the State Governments were also
not active in responding to the Questionnaire. In 1997, only the State
Governments of Goa and Mizoram and Union Territory Administrations of
Lakshadweep, Diu & Daman and Dadra & Nagar Haveli have sent their
replies. The State Governments of Manipur and
1.30 On 15 July 1998, the Supreme Court came to the rescue of the Commission by directing the Registrars of the High Courts and also the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations who have not responded to the Questionnaire to send their replies to the Commission within 8 weeks of the receipt of the order of the Supreme Court.
1.31 Accordingly, the said High Courts, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations replied to the Questionnaire.
1.32 The All
1.33 The Commission engaged different Consultants for different work: (i) Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, was entrusted with the task of rationalizing and suggesting uniform pay structures and other benefits for the proposed three cadres; (ii) Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, was engaged for preparing a report on Case Management and Court Management; (iii) The National Law School of India University, Bangalore, was requested to collect and compile the history of State Judiciary and advise the Commission generally; (iv) Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon, Former Director of National Law School of India University, Bangalore, agreed to prepare a report on the Judicial Training Institute with the syllabus and course of training for Judicial Officers; and (v) Sri K.R. Chamayya, former Law Secretary / Legislative Draftsman and Chairman of the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, was requested to prepare a model Civil Courts Act, Small Causes Court Act and draft Uniform Rules for Recruitment of Judges of Family Courts.
1.34 The Consultants, namely, the Indian
Institute of Public Administration,
1.35 The National Law School of
Amendment to the Terms of Reference :
1.36 The original terms of reference did not
empower the Commission to declare any interim relief. The Commission, therefore,
requested the Government to appropriately enlarge the terms of reference to
recommend interim relief as there were repeated demands from the judicial
officers of every State. The Government of
Commission may consider and grant such interim relief as it considers just and
proper to all categories of Judicial Officers of all the States /
Interim Relief :
1.37 The existing pay scales of Judicial
Officers vary from State to State. To rationalise their pay structure by giving
uniform pay scales is one of the objects of the Commission. As a preliminary to
achieve that object, the Commission, on 31 July 1998 granted Interim Relief to
the Judicial Officers of States and
1.38 Some State Governments promptly implemented the Interim Relief, but others did not. Taking note of this anomaly, the Supreme Court made an Order on 27th April 1998 as follows:
"We direct the other State Governments to take appropriate decision whether to give the interim relief or the benefits under the Fifth Central Pay Commission’s Report to the Judicial Officers in the States / UTs and make payment within four weeks from today, and report compliance to this Court."
1.39 Pursuant to the aforesaid direction, all the States have since implemented the Interim Relief.
Oral hearing :
1.40 The Commission afforded an opportunity of
being heard to the representatives of all the Judicial Officers’ Associations,
High Courts, State Governments / Union Territory Administrations etc., Hearing
commenced on 2 November 1998 and concluded on 24 February 1999..
National Level Consultative Meeting on 12th & 13th December 1998
1.41 The Commission thought that the
reports prepared by the Indian Institute of Management and Dr. Madhava Menon
should be discussed by the judicial fraternity, and other concerned authorities,
before they are finalised by the Commission. Accordingly, the Commission
convened a National Consultative Meeting in Indian Institute of Management,
1.42 The Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan
High Court, Nominee Judges of the High Courts of Allahabad, Andhra Pradesh,
Reports of the Commission :
1.43 The Commission, after due deliberations
and taking into consideration every aspect, has prepared the Report in three
Volumes. We trust and hope that all the State Governments / Union Territory
Administrations would implement the recommendations made in the Report at the
* * *