A three-member committee set up by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has recommended a secretarial allowance of up to Rs 25,000 per month, free electricity and free medical treatment in private hospitals in addition to other facilities to retired judges of high courts.
The committee was set up in April last year to recommend the “grant of at least minimum post-retiral benefits to retired chief justices and judges of the high courts.” The recommendations of the committee, which also comprises Justice G. Rohini of Delhi High Court and Justice Navin Sinha of Chattisgarh High Court, are likely to come up for discussion at the Chief Justices’ Conference starting in Delhi on Friday.
In terms of medical facilities, the committee noted that in several states, the benefits are at par with sitting judges. The committee is of the view that such medical facilities are needed even more after retirement both for the judge and his/her spouse or dependents.
The facility of treatment through private hospitals should be given as they are more efficient than government hospitals. The state should pay actual expenditure incurred on their treatment. Also there should be a provision for cashless facility in arrangement with insurance companies, it adds.
A uniform policy is needed to be adopted by all state governments for allowances given for domestic help, the panel said. Monthly payment for one domestic help should be allowed equivalent to a Class IV employee of the high court. “This shall continue during the lifetime of the judge and the surviving spouse,” it says.
Serving judges get the facility of Leave travel concession (LTC) but they sometimes don’t avail it. “Unavailed LTC entitlements which have accrued during service should be allowed after retirement,” the committee says, adding that this will ensure working days of high courts are not lost by judges proceeding on leave.
Currently, the telephone allowances for retired judges vary from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per month depending on states. The committee says at least 1500 calls should be provided per month in addition to the free calls provided by the telephone provider. Retired judges should get a provision for reimbursement of the equivalent of 7000 units of electricity per annum. Necessary rules may be framed for this, it says.
Some high courts provide subsidised conveyance to retired judges charging Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kilometre. “This deserves to be uniformly coordinated with protocol services as the movement of retired judges and their spouses to different places is occasioned either on account of a visit to a relative, a tour or for availing medical facilities,” says the panel.
Provision for temporary government accommodation should be made in rest houses and guest houses in New Delhi and other state capital, the panel adds. It adds that the facility of free newspapers and magazine on the pattern of Allahabad High Court should be extended to retired judges.