Rent-free accommodation for 6 months for retired CJI; round-the-clock security for retired SC judges

Supreme Court Judges Rules​: The Central Government recently amended the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.

  • The government has amended the original Supreme Court Judges Rules of 1959 in exercise of powers conferred on it under the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.

Key Points:

  • The Department of Justice in the Law Ministry notified the amended 'Supreme Court Judges Rules’ under the banner of Supreme Court Judges (Amendment) Rules, 2022.
  • The amendments extend various benefits to the retired judges for a period of one year after they demit office.

New Benefits for SC Judges:

Rent-free Accommodation:

  • Chief Justices of India (CJIs) retiring from the Supreme Court will be entitled to rent-free Type-Type VII accommodation in Delhi other than the designated official residence  for a period of six months from the date of retirement.

Note: Type VII accommodation is usually provided to sitting MPs who have been former Union ministers.

  • The accommodation provided to retired CJI would be different from the official residence of a sitting Chief Justice.
  • Prior to the amendment, SC Judges, including CJI was allowed to retain their official accommodation only for a period of 1 month.

Chauffeur and Assistant:

  • Retired Judges of the Supreme Court are entitled to chauffeur facility and secretarial assistant for a period of 1 year from their retirement date.
  • The chauffeur with full pay and allowances admissible to regular employees will be drawn from the establishment of the apex court or the high court.
  • The secretarial assistant being provided to the judges will be of the level of the Branch Officer in the Supreme Court.

Round the Clock Security:

  • They will also be entitled to security cover round the clock at their residence in addition to round the clock personal security guard at their residence, for a period of one year from the date of their superannuation.
  • Earlier, a retired Chief Justice of India was entitled to round-the-clock security for a lifetime.

Access to Ceremonial Lounges:

Apart from the above, another benefit which has been included is that a retired chief justice or a retired judge (of the apex court) shall be entitled to the protocol to extend courtesies at ceremonial lounges at airports.

Reason for revising the Supreme Court Judges’ Rules:

  • The Apex court of India had reached out to the Department of Justice seeking additional benefits for the judges who retire after serving the apex court.
  • The sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court is 34 judges and on an average three retire annually, a functionary pointed out.
  • Sources have pointed out that some of these issues had come up during the recent Chief Ministers-Chief Justices Conference.
  • Judges flagged several issues with many of them related to post-retirement benefits for them.
  • The request to amend Supreme Court Judges Rules was formally expedited after Justice N.V. Ramana took it up with the ministry upon assuming charge as Chief Justice of India (CJI) in April 2021.
  • The amendment to the law comes merely 3 days before Chief Justice Ramana demits office on 26th August 2022.

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, who demits office on Friday, will be one of the first to avail the new post-retirement facility.