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Friday, September 11, 2009

Uniform retirement age for tribunal chairpersons favoured

The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre fix a uniform retirement age of 70 years for chairpersons of tribunals and 65 years for members against the present limit of 68 for chairpersons and 62 years for members.
In its 232nd report, the Commission, headed by Chairman Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, has said: “It needs no mention that an enhanced age of retirement is prescribed in the higher echelons of the administrative and judicial services because the professional experience gained by those working in them needs to be fully tapped for the good of society.”
“In the present liberalised economic era, the experience gained by government employees is being fruitfully tapped after their retirement by many multinational companies. These private enterprises pay the retired government employees hefty salaries because the valuable professional experience they gained during their government service is put to a profitable use. In such a scenario, the government should utilise the services of its retired employees to the fullest extent possible.”
It said: “The practice being followed for fixing the age of retirement for chairpersons and members of various tribunals reveals that there exists no rationale for fixing different retirement age limits. It may be seen that there is neither any uniformity in the age of retirement, nor have any cogent reasons been given in the Acts, justifying the criteria.”
The Commission said the question of increasing the retirement age of judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court from 62 to 65 and from 65 to 70 respectively was a matter of serious discussion at different levels of the government. Retirement age in many government departments, especially educational and scientific and research institutions, had already been increased.
The Commission said a High Court judge was considered for appointment as chairperson or member of a tribunal after he retired at the age of 62.
If an incumbent was to retire within two-three years of his joining a tribunal, he could not contribute much to its functioning. Therefore, the retirement age of chairpersons and members should be fixed at 70 and 65 respectively.


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