NEW DELHI: Parliamentarians on Tuesday raised a vociferous demand for a hike in their salaries, eking out an assurance from the government that it had taken note of their concerns. The MPs found an opening to pitch their demand when Lok Sabha took up the Bill to increase the salaries of judges — The High Court and The Supreme Court Judges (salaries and conditions of service) Amendment Bill, 2017.
Interestingly, while tagging their demand for salary hike with those of judges, the Lok Sabha also witnessed criticism of the judiciary in the inconclusive discussion. The sole member to speak on the bill before the House was adjourned raised questions about the appointments of judges and functioning of courts.
As law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad sought to introduce the bill, members cutting across party lines were on their feet seeking a hike in the salaries for MPs. Prasad asked the MPs to show a big heart and not link the two issues. “We are taking note of your concerns and the proper course would be followed,” he said. Senior Congress MP KV Thomas started his speech on the bill by reminding the minister of the sentiments of the MPs about their salary hike.
Talking about the judiciary, Thomas remarked, “I am not accusing any system, but we know, and, unfortunately, it is very painful, that there are middlemen. It is a known fact that there are middlemen, who manage things. Is it good for our judicial system? Is it good for our democracy? So, we expect a judicial system which is impartial.”
Thomas sought a role for government in the appointment of judges, saying the process of appointment was of interest to all. He also referred to the National Judicial Commission, which was nixed by the apex court, as an effort made in the direction of reforming the process.
He suggested there be live telecast of proceedings in the Supreme Court. According to the law minister, the bill seeks to enhance and align the remuneration of judges with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.
Following the bill, the Chief Justice of India will get a monthly salary of Rs 2.80 lakh from the present Rs 1 lakh. Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court and chief justices of the high courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs 2.50 lakh from the current Rs 90,000. The judges of the high courts, who get Rs 80,000 per month now, will get Rs 2.25 lakh per month.
Source : timesofindia