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Report No. 79

VI. Quality

3.15. Judges on the Benc.- Best persons to be appointed.-

We are also of the opinion that every effort should be made to see that the best persons available are appointed to serve on the High Court Bench. The overriding consideration for this purpose should be the merit of the individual. All other considerations must be subordinated to the paramount necessity of having the best available person for the post. Experience tells us that wrong appointments not only affect the image of the courts, they also undermine the confidence in, and respect for, the High Court amongst the litigants, the members of the Bar and the general public. A wrong appointment also affects the quantum of output and the quality of disposal. Cases have also not been unknown when one wrong appointment has deterred competent persons from joining the Bench subsequently despite the entreaties of the Chief Justice.

3.16. Conditions of service.-

Also, with a view to attracting persons of the right calibre to the Bench, something may have to be done to improve the service conditions. This might also take into account the benefits, including pension, to which they would be entitled after retirement. While it is true that the pay-scales of the judges cannot be wholly divorced from the general pattern of pay structure of the country at the higher levels, it has also to be borne in mind that bright and capable members of the Bar by sticking to the profession can earn much more.

In the eyes of some there may be a halo around the office of judgeship. The halo has, however, been getting dimmer and dimmer with the afflux of time, the rising spiral of prices and the disparity between the professional income and the salary of judges. We must take note of the fact that some measures have recently been adopted to improve the service conditions of the High Court Judges by providing them rent free 'louse and giving them a conveyance allowance. However, having regard to the existing tax laws, the steps taken in this respect may perhaps not provide adequate relief.

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