The High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954

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The High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 was enacted on 20 May 1954 to regulate salaries and service conditions of Judges of High Courts by Parliament in 50th year of Republic of India. It extends to whole of India but extension of this Act to State of Sikkim was on 16/05/1975 by Notification.

Under Section 2, various words like Acting Chief Justice, Acting Judge, Actual Service, Additional Judge, Former Indian High Court, High Court, Judge, Pension, Service for Pension are discussed and explained under definition clause.

Chapter 2 of the Act explains about leaves that are granted to the Judge like half allowances, partly full and partly half allowances, total leave due in the account are all explained. A judge with regard to his earned leave that is in credit to his account can claim a cash equivalent to his leave salary. But one exception here is that total leave that can be cashed on is for a prescribed period stated under All India Service (Leave) Rules.

The total amount of leave that a judge gets shall not be more than half allowances for three years along with compensation for vacation not used. One-twenty-fourth period that a judge spends in actual service shall be calculated while giving full allowance leaves along with one half period for compensation vacation not used. Total period of leave granted at a time is 5 months and with regard to leave allowance is 16 months.

A judge can commute leave on half allowance and full allowance after submitting a medical certificate which can be up to 3 months. Total amount of commuted leave that has been given to Judge will not be taken into account while computing leave period on full allowance. Upon submission of medical certificate a Judge can be granted half allowance leaves amount in excess of the amount that is in credit to his account but it cannot be more than 6 months of his service period as a Judge. This can be cancelled if Judge is not returning back to duty.

Section 7, 8, 9 speaks about special disability leave, extraordinary leave and monthly leave allowance are also explained. Allowances at the joining time shall be paid to a judge and a judge can combine vacation with leave but no permissions is given to do so if judge is not returning back to work.

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If a judge uses excess leave than which is granted to him, then he will not get any salary for that excess leave period. But if the absence is due to things that are not under his control then he may get the salary for it. Governor of State shall be the competent authority to grant leave to a Judge.

Chapter 3 of the Act states that 30,000.00 per mensem salaries and pensions paid to Chief Justice of High Court and a Judge gets 26,000.00 as salary. Pension to all retired judges shall also be paid under the Act as per provisions of the Act. Every Judge who is a member or not under the office of Union or State or is a member of Indian Civil Service shall be paid pension under provisions of the Act.

President has the power to add to service for pension of judge under special reasons.  Extraordinary Pensions, Family Pensions and Gratuities are also discussed under the Act.  With regard to commutation of pension to Judges, The Civil Pensions (Commutation) Rules is enforced.  Every Judge is entitled to Provident Fund as prescribed under provisions of the Act.  The Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme under General Provident Fund (Central Services) Rules 1960 applies to all the judges. President of India grants pension to the judges.

Chapter 4 of the Act states about travelling allowances to a judge, rent free house provided to the judge, conveyance facilities, and sumptuary allowance to Chief Justice and other judges of High Court is also discussed. A Judge is exempted to pay income tax on certain facilities that he receives. Every judge and his family members are entitled to medical treatment and hospital accommodation.

President fixes vacation period for every High Court after Gazette notification and all orders passed by President in this regard should be put before Houses of Parliament. There is a special provision with regard to pension and leave for judges who are transferred from Jammu and Kashmir High court to any other court. Every retired judge has the right to get for himself and his whole family medical treatment under the Act unless any restrictions are laid by Central Government.

Section 24 of the Act states about the Central Government after Gazetted notification make rules for matters on leave of absence of a judge, judges pension, travelling allowance to the judge, medical treatment facilities etc or any other matter as per the Act. Every rule should be put before Houses of Parliament for a period of 30 days when it is in session.Section 25 of the Act explains about savings as to nothing can have effect as amended by the High Court Judges(Conditions of Service) Amendment Act, 1958under this Act to reduce or make less favourable for any terms in regard to any allowances, leave, pensions that are provided to the judges. The total amount of pensions that is paid to judges, injury gratuities are discussed in detail in Schedule 1 and 2 of the Act.

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by Sushma Javare