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A bill to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts by over two folds was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Once the bill is cleared by Parliament and becomes a law, the Chief Justice of India will get a monthly salary of Rs 2.80 lakh from the present Rs one lakh. Similarly, judges of the Supreme Court and chief justices of the high courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs 2.50 lakh from the current Rs 90,000. The judges of the high courts, who get Rs 80,000 per month now, will get Rs 2.25 lakh per month, the bill states. The salary hike, which is in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services, will come into force retrospectively from January 1, 2016. The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 also seeks to revise the rates of house rent allowance with effect from July 1, 2017, and the rates of sumptuary allowance with effect from September 22. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who piloted the bill, reached the Lok Sabha a little late, prompting the Speaker to ask him to be punctual.
Prasad was busy in the Rajya Sabha. In 2016, then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government seeking a hike in the salaries of Supreme Court and high court judges. As against the approved strength of 31, the Supreme Court today has 25 judges. The high courts have an approved strength of 1,079, but 682 judges are today handling work in the 24 high courts. The move will also benefit 2,500 retired judges. Once the hike is effected, the salary of judges will be at par with those of the bureaucrats following the implementation of the recommendations of the 7th pay panel.