As the Supreme Court comes off its long vacation period and gets ready to tackle the ever-mounting pendency as well as the lack of adequate number of judges to handle the issue, one of its judges, Justice Kurian Joseph, has reportedly asked the Centre to raise the standard Leave Travel Concession (LTC) rules for judges from the current three to eight per year. That is just under a 300 percent increase sought.
Technically, if one considers three months of vacation time for judges, eight LTCs would mean almost one a month.
One has to compare this with senior IAS officers, since that is the same LTC bracket for SC Judges. IAS officers at the rank of secretary get just two LTCs in a block of four years. Of them one is restricted to hometown visit, while the second is for a visit anywhere in India with wife and dependent children.
What is provided are air travel expenses, 10 days of additional pay all totaling a maximum Rs 75,000 as per the Seventh Pay Commission.
Supreme Court judges can avail of three LTCs, anywhere in India.
As for the salary, the Chief Justice’s emolument, excluding dearness and other allowances, is a modest Rs 1 lakh. That makes him the highest paid within the judiciary. The government is considering raising all these salaries and this will push the CJI’s salary to Rs 2.8 lakh. Standard perks, such as official residence, cars and allowances will remain. High court chief justices and Supreme Court judges should get Rs 2.5 lakh per month, plus perks. That makes their salaries equal to that of cabinet secretaries, armed forces chiefs and others, such as CAG and CEC.
Justice Joseph is a senior judge, who will join the Supreme Court’s collegium when Chief Justice JS Khehar retires in the last week of August. He will then be responsible for recommending names for the selection of judges.
— India Legal Bureau