The Supreme Court of India is a self-governing and unprejudiced power to interpret and uphold the dignity of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the absolute authority to harmonize the individual freedom and public control. The Court comprises of Chief Justice of India and twenty five other Judges who are appointed by the President of India. The tenure of service of a judge is until he attains sixty five years of age.
The remuneration and payments of judges are provided under second Schedule to the Constitution of India. Article 125 of the Constitution of India empowers the Parliament to determine by law, remuneration, allowances, leave, retirement fund etc of the Judges of Supreme Court. Accordingly, the Parliament of India has enacted Supreme Court Judges (Conditions of Service) Act, 1958 with a view to standardize conditions in the service of judges. After appointment, the Parliament is not supposed to modify the rights and powers of the judge to his inconvenience.
According to the Act, an acting Chief Justice has to execute the responsibilities of the Chief Justice of India and is appointed as per Article 126 of the Constitution. The Judge of Supreme Court shall be granted leave either with full payment or half payment or partly full or in part. Where a judge is granted leave with half allowance, leave account shall be created to show the outstanding leave. If a judge was unable to benefit from the vacation due to the responsibilities not connected with Apex Court, he shall be granted as recompense, double the vacation actually allowed. The utmost leave which can be granted to a judge is five months with complete allowance and sixteen months of leave with other allowances.
Where a judge produces medical certificate, he can convert leave with half allowance to full allowance to a maximum term of three months. A judge is granted Special disability leave with such allowances on the prescribed terms and conditions. The Act also provides for extra ordinary leave without allowances for a period mentioned. The Judge of the Supreme Court is also entitled to get such leave allowances as prescribed under the Act and he is also allowed to join his leave with full salary.
Where a judge takes leave more than the specified period, he shall not be entitled to get salary for the term of nonattendance. But as per the proviso, leave taken was due to the situation outside the control of the Judge, he shall be granted leave. The President of India shall be the sole authority to grant, reject, cancel or restrict leave of the Judge after consulting the Chief Justice.
A Judge is entitled to get pension after his retirement if, he has completed sixty five years or concluded seven years of service and the retirement is due to ill health. The Act also stipulates special provision for the Judges under Indian Civil Service. Every judge of the Supreme Court is allowed family pension, gratuity, provident fund, traveling allowance and other payments as mentioned under the Act. For certain benefits received by a Judge, he is exempted from the payment of Income tax. The Central Government is empowered to make rules to implement the provisions of the Act.
At present the salaries and conditions of service of judges are governed by the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Conditions of Service) Amendment Act, 2009 which increased the salary of Supreme Court Judges. Now, the salary of the Chief Justice of India is one lakh rupees and other judges will get an increased sum of ninety thousand rupees. The Chief Justice of High Court gets the same remuneration as that of the Judge of Supreme Court.