Of Judicial Retirement

Why is the mandatory retirement age for Supreme
Court judges and High Court judges different in India? I addressed this
question in a paper published in the EPW last week. Supreme Court judges in
India retire at the age of 65, while High Court judges retire at the age of 62
(earlier, this was 60). In my paper, I argue that the additional years in
service were meant to serve as an incentive to get senior High Court judges and
High Court Chief Justices to agree to give up their positions of seniority on their
respective High Courts, in exchange for a junior position on the Supreme Court
of India. I conclude by arguing that this reason no longer holds true today:
senior High Court judges and Chief Justices no longer decide to become Supreme
Court judges because of the few additional years for which they might continue in
service, but because of the intrinsic prestige and status of the post itself.
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Nick Robinson
Nick Robinson
9 years ago

Abhinav, I like your piece and think the argument you make is strong. However, what's your sense about why this hasn't happened yet? It seems like people have been calling for an increase in the retirement age for some time. What's blocking it? Is it the feeling that this reform would have to be packaged with other, more controversial, reforms? Are some of the Supreme Court judges against it? Is it parts of the government, and if so, why?

Nick Robinson
Nick Robinson
9 years ago

Thanks Abhinav. That explanation does make some "sense" although it certainly strikes me there are plenty of examples to look at around the world to get out of this. Also, I suppose it might trigger lower court judges wanting a later retirement age too (which, again, would seemingly make sense).