No rigid standard for acceptance or rejection of dying declaration: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking uniform retirement age for judges of the apex court and the high courts.

At present, the retirement age for the Supreme Court judges is 65 years whereas for the high court judges, it is 62 years.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian observed that the petitioner can make a representation to the government on the issue.

Petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, an advocate and BJP leader, argued that different age of retirements for judges of the high courts and the top court is irrational.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench observed, “We are dismissing it. You can make a representation.” When Upadhyay told the court that having different retirement age for judges in high courts and the apex court is irrational, the bench asked, “How it is irrational?”.

The petitioner said that he has some friends who are “finest of lawyers” but they do not want to become judges of the high court because the retirement age there is 62.

The bench was not impressed with his submission and also did not agree with him to tag the plea with the pending petition in which the issue of appointment of ad-hoc judges for high courts is being considered.

The petitioner later sought permission to withdraw the petition. “Counsel appearing for the petitioner prays for withdrawal of this petition. Prayer is allowed. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench said in its order.

The plea had stated that if there is uniformity in retirement age, the judges of the high court will discharge judicial work more independently and without any expectation to move to the Supreme Court.

Also, to minimise the apprehension of subordination between the Supreme Court and high courts, it is appropriate to equate the retirement age of high court judge’s with Supreme Court judges, it had said.

Contending that its irrational to have different retirement age for judges of constitutional courts, the plea filed by Upadhyay had said that increasing the retirement age and making it uniform i.e 65 years will not only strengthen the rule of law, but also secure the fundamental right of speedy justice, guaranteed under Article 21.

“Uniformity in the retirement age of judges will create a pool of experienced judges in high courts, which will be extremely useful for deciding the cases of extreme importance or which require deep and thorough knowledge for interpretation of the Constitution,” the plea, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, had said.

Uniformity in the retirement age is not only necessary to reduce pendency of cases but also essential to attract and retain the best legal talent in the bench, the plea had said.