Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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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