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Judge pay scales

New Delhi, Nov. 25: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre and all states and Union territories to implement higher pay scales for subordinate judges by April 1, 2003.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice G.B. Pattanaik, Justices V.N. Khare and Rajendra Baby rejected a government argument that the pay hike would cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 95 crore annually.

The court wondered on what grounds the government had arrived at that figure.

The Shetty Commission had recommended the new scales for judges of the lower judiciary throughout the country but most state governments expressed their inability to comply.

In a recent meeting of chief ministers with the Prime Minister, almost everybody expressed their inability to implement the commission’s recommendations. But the apex court has dismissed the “resource crunch” plea most of them had made.

The court order came following a case moved by the All India Judges Association seeking a solution to the deadlock. The Supreme Court had accepted the Shetty Commission’s recommendations on March 21.

The case has been kept alive with the apex court posting further hearings to May after monitoring whether the pay hike is implemented by the administration by April 1.

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