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The Supreme Court bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Tuesday (March 20) observed that there can be no disparity in pension when officials concerned are of same rank in judicial services. However, the bench made it clear that the length of service is crucial and has to be taken into account while computing pension.

The issue came to the fore while dealing with a case dealing with appointments etc. of constitutional functionaries.

In the petition, filed by Justice M Vijayaraghavan, his counsel told the bench that there was disparity with regard to pension amongst officials of the same designation. At this Justice Chelameswar noted that if one gentlemen has rendered more number of years in service as compared to the other person, it is obvious that the first person is entitled for higher pension.

Length of service is material, reiterated Justice Kaul.

The counsel said that there should be no discrimination between bar judges and services judges when it comes to pension, because they get equal salary during the tenure of their employment.

The petitioner has said that he was not treated as a high court judge when it came to pension.

Article 112 deals with pension to high court judges wherein pension is decided by the Central government. The legislation discriminates between bar judges and service judges, even though the constitution does not, said the counsel after reading article 112 and 221.

He read the petition, which said: “The services rendered in the high court by me was added to the services I rendered in the subordinate court and accordingly my pension was fixed in terms of subordinate court judge. Why can’t my subordinate court service be added to my services rendered at the high court and my pension be fixed accordingly as a high court judge?”

While the bench observed that more money doesn’t mean more efficiency, the counsel insisted on one rank one pension.

Keeping in view of the peculiar issues, the current bench has referred the matter to a larger bench.

—India Legal Bureau

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