Judges of Fast Track courts can’t be denied pensionary & other retiral benefits: SC

Supreme Court: In the case where the question as to whether the services rendered by some Judicial Officers as Fast Track court Judges is liable to be counted for their pensionary and other benefits, the bench of J. Chelameswar and SK Kaul, JJ answered the question in affirmative and said:

“The appellants were not appointed to the Fast Track courts just at the whim and fancy of any person but were the next in line on the merit list of a judicial recruitment process. They were either part of the select list, who could not find a place given the cadre strength, or those next in line in the select list. Had there been adequate cadre strength, the recruitment process would have resulted in their appointment.”

Noticing that the judges have rendered services over a period of nine years and have performed their role as Judges to the satisfaction, otherwise there would have been no occasion for their appointment to the regular cadre strength, the bench said:

“it is a matter of great regret that these appellants who have performed the functions of a Judge to the satisfaction of the competent authorities should be deprived of their pension and retiral benefits for this period of service.”

The Court took note of the fact that the Fast Track Court Scheme was brought in to deal with the exigency and the appellants were appointed to the Fast Track courts and continued to work for almost a decade. It was also noted that the appellants were part of the initial select list/merit list for recruitment to the regular cadre strength but were not high enough to be recruited in the existing strength. Even at the stage of absorption in the regular cadre strength, they had to go through a defined process in pursuance of the judgment of this court and have continued to work thereafter

It was, hence, held:

“the methodology of non-creation of adequate regular cadre posts and the consequent establishment of Fast Track courts manned by the appellants cannot be used as a ruse to deny the dues of the appellants.”

[Mahesh Chandra Verma v. State of Jharkhand, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 520, decided on 11.05.2018]

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