Legal Correspondent

States asked to implement Padmanabhan panel recommendations

“Raise pay, allowances from January 1, 2006”

All States should follow A.P. model, says court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed all States to implement the Justice Padmanabhan Committee recommendations on revised pay scales for judicial officers with effect from January 1, 2006.

“There should be uniformity and all the States should implement the recommendations and shall raise the pay scale and allowances from January 1, 2006 and shall pay arrears of salary, if any,” said a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan (since retired) and Justices Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan in a recent order in the All India Judges Association case.

While Gujarat, Orissa, Maharashtra and Goa submitted that they would take steps to implement the recommendations, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh said they had implemented them. However, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir said they had serious financial constraints.

Most of the other States said they had already implemented the 6 {+t} {+h} Pay Commission recommendations and implementation of the Justice Padmanabhan Committee recommendations would impose a heavy financial burden on them.

They sought the Central government's assistance for implementing the new pay scales. Their contention was that the pay scales to be paid to judicial officers would be much higher than what was being paid to other executives of the States. It was suggested that so much of increase in pay scales should be avoided as it was likely to become an eyesore.

Rejecting the plea, the Bench pointed out that the same plea was raised when the Supreme Court directed the States to implement the Justice Shetty Commission's recommendations in 2002. At that time, the court said: “The entire expenditure on account of the recommendations be borne by the respective States. It is for the States to increase the court fee or to approach the Finance Commission or the Union of India for more allocation of funds.”

The Bench said: “If in any State, the 6 {+t} {+h} Pay Commission recommendations are more beneficial to the judicial officers, they will continue to be benefited to that extent.” Since the Andhra Pradesh government had already issued a notification accepting the recommendations, the Bench directed that the A.P. government's Order dated May 1, 2010 could be followed by other States also.

It directed that 60 per cent of the arrears be paid in cash spread over in two financial years and 40 per cent to be deposited in Provident Fund account forthwith. Regarding certain allowances recommended by the committee, the Bench asked the States/High Courts to give their objections, if any, within eight weeks, “in case they are not able to sort out the difference themselves.”

The Bench directed that the matter be listed after eight weeks for further directions regarding allowances and pension.