1. Justice K. Jagannatha Shetty Chairman

Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

2. Justice P. K. Bahri (Retd.) Member

3. Justice A.B. Murgod (Retd.) Member Secretary

The Supreme Court, in the All India Judges' Association Case (AIR 1992 SC 165 and AIR 1993 SC 2493) has inter-alia observed :

"the judicial service is not service in the sense of employment. The Judges are not employees. As members of judiciary, they exercise the sovereign judicial power of the State. They are holders of public offices in the same way as the members of the council of ministers and members of the legislature. The judiciary is above the administrative executive and any attempt to place it on par with the administrative executive has to be discouraged."

The Supreme Court went on to state:

(i) "The exertions involved in the duties of the Judge cannot be compared with the duties of other services."

(ii) "It is fallacious to compare the judicial service with other services for any purpose, since the judicial service by its very nature stands on a different footing and should be treated as such."

(iii) "The earlier approach of comparison between the service conditions of the Judges and those of the administrative executive has to be abandoned and the service conditions of the Judges which are wrongly linked to those of the administrative executive have to be revised to meet the special needs of the judicial service."

It was then said:

"We reiterate the importance of such separate Commission and also of the desirability of prescribing uniform pay scales to the Judges all over the country. Since such pay scales will be the minimum deserved by the Judicial Officers, the argument that some of the States may not be able to bear the financial burden is irrelevant."

Pursuant to these observations, the Government of India by Resolution dated the 21st March 1996 constituted the First National Judicial Pay Commission for the Subordinate Judiciary of all the States and Union Territories with the following terms of reference:

(a) To evolve the principles which should govern the structure of pay and other emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the Subordinate Judiciary all over the country.

(b) To examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the States and Union Territories taking into account the total packet of benefits available to them and make suitable recommendations having regard, among other relevant factors, to the existing relativities in the pay structure between the Officers belonging to Subordinate Judicial Services vis--vis other Civil Servants.

(c) To examine and recommend in respect of minimum qualification, age of recruitment, method of recruitment, etc., for Judicial Officers. In this context, the relevant provisions of the Constitution and direction of the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association case and in other cases may be kept in view.

(d) To examine the work methods and work environment as also the variety of allowances and benefits in kind that are available to Judicial Officers in addition to pay and to suggest rationalisation and simplification thereof with a view to promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimising the size of the Judiciary etc.,

Though the Commission was constituted in March 1996, it could not commence work for a long period for want of accommodation, finance and staff. The Commission became functional only by the end of December 1996.

The terms of reference of the Commission are just not confined to pay structuring of the Subordinate Judiciary of the country but apparently cover almost every aspect of their service conditions including uniform pay scales, uniformity in recruitment, training, the work method and work environment etc., The Commission has also to amalgamate the multiple cadres existing in some of the States into three uniform cadres.

The Commission has prepared a comprehensive Questionnaire on all the aforesaid aspects which was released on March 15, 1997 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.P. Sethi, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. The Questionnaire has been given wide publicity in print and electronic media and also transmitted to all High Courts, State Governments, Judicial Officers' Associations, Bar Associations, eminent persons, seeking their respective views.


The responses to the Questionnaire are trickling.

Out of 18 High Courts, so far only 8 High Courts have furnished their views. Out of 26 States, only 2 States have given their replies. Out of 29 Judicial Officers' Associations, 22 have responded. The Commission has sent reminders to all those who have not yet responded.

The Commission has to collect and collate necessary data and information after the receipt of replies from all High Courts and Associations of Judicial Officers. The Commission has also to afford an opportunity of being heard to the interested persons. This process is indeed time consuming.

In the meantime, the Central Government has, after making some improvements, implemented the recommendations of the V-Pay Commission, the benefit of which has been extended to judicial Officers at New Delhi, Pondicherry and Lakshadweep. Some of the States like Goa, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have given the benefit of the corresponding pay scales recommended by the V-Central Pay Commission to their Judicial officers as well. The West Bengal has extended this benefit to the officers of higher Judicial Service. Some other States like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have given ad hoc interim reliefs. The U.P. Government has revised the pay scales of the Government employees but not of Judicial Officers. All these resulted in a wide variance in the pay scales and the total emoluments of the Judicial Officers from State to State.

The Commission has received a lot of representations from the Judges' Associations stressing on the need to grant some Interim Relief.

In the premise and taking cognizance of all facts and circumstances, it appears to the Commission that justice and fairness demand that Interim Relief should be given to the members of the Subordinate Judiciary.


Under the original terms of reference, the Commission had no power to grant Interim Relief. On December 16, 1997, the Central Government has amended the terms of reference empowering the Commission to consider and grant such Interim Relief as it considers just and proper to all categories of Judicial Officers of all the States / Union Territories.

The Commission heard some of the representatives of the Judicial Officers' Associations, particularly from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka. The Commission has also heard Sri C. Sri Ramlu, Chairman, Sri. N.S. Saini, General Secretary and Smt. P. Santhakumari, Vice-President of the All India Judges' Association. The Commission has sought the opinion of experts from Indian Institute of Public Administration, who are the Consultants to the Commission on restructuring the pay scales.

The Commission has noticed the wide variance in the existing pay scales of similarly situated Judicial Officers from State to State. The Commission desires that such disparity should be discontinued in view of the observations of the Supreme Court that there should be uniformity in the pay scales and the emoluments of Judicial Officers in all States since they perform similar functions with similar jurisdiction.

With this object in view, the Commission has worked out a formula for determining the Interim Relief to the Judicial Officers of different States. The Commission first calculated the difference between the mean pay of existing pay scales with Dearness Allowance available as on 1st January 1996 and the mean pay of the near corresponding pay scales of the V- Central Pay Commission. An approximate percentage of the said amount at the lowest pay scale of the Judicial Officers in each State has been taken into consideration for determining the Interim Relief. Necessarily, it becomes different percentage for different States to reach near parity in the emoluments.

Accordingly, the following Interim Relief is granted to the Judicial Officers of different States as indicated below:

Sl. No.

Name of the State/ Union Territory

Percentage on Basic Pay + Dearness Allowance of each Judicial Officer as on 1st January 1996

Andhra Pradesh

35 %



75 %



35 %



40 %


Himachal Pradesh

40 %


Jammu & Kashmir

40 %



35 %



35 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



40 %



45 %


Tamil Nadu

35 %



40 %


Uttar Pradesh

40 %


West Bengal

55 % - To the Officers of the Subordinate Judicial Service only.


The Commission does not propose to grant any Interim Relief to the Judicial Officers of such State / Union Territory to whom the benefits of the V- Central Pay Commission have already been extended.

The Commission, however, recommends the Interim Relief to the Judicial Officers who have retired prior to 1st July 1996 at the rate of 40% of the Basic Pension and so also to Family Pensioners.

Those who have retired after 1st July 1996 and those retire henceforward, this Interim Relief shall along with Dearness Allowance as on 1st July 1996 be treated as basic pay for determining the pension payable to them.

As to the date of giving effect to the Interim Relief, the Commission takes into account that the Central Government employees as well as some of the State Government Employees have been given the benefit of higher pay from January 1996 and the benefit of some allowances from August 1997. The Dearness Allowance to the employees is generally admissible twice a year as on 1st January and 1st July . Since the Commission was constituted with effect from 21st March 1996, the Commission considers that it is proper and necessary to implement the Interim Relief with effect from 1st July 1996.

It is, however, made clear that this Interim Relief will not count for House Rent Allowance, Compensatory Allowance, Encashment of Leave and Pay Fixation.

The Commission also directs that the Interim Relief, if any, already granted by the State Government / Union Territory to the Judicial Officers /Pensioners / Family Pensioners after 1st January 1996 shall be adjusted in the Interim Relief now granted by this Commission.

In the event any State Government in future extends the benefits of the recommendations of the V-Central Pay Commission to its Judicial Officers, the Interim Relief hereby granted to such Judicial Officers may appropriately be adjusted.

It is also made clear that the Interim Relief hereby granted will be fully adjusted against and included in the package which may become admissible to the Judicial Officers / Pensioners / Family Pensioners on the final recommendations of the Commission.

The State Governments are, therefore, requested to give effect to this Interim Relief as above stated with effect from 1st July 1996.






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