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Report No. 80

III. Age and other Factors Relating to Eligibility

6.6. Age for appointment to High Court.-

We may next deal with the question of age group within which a person may be appointed a judge of the High Court. While considering this aspect, we wish to emphasise that maturity is as much essential in a judge as are the knowledge of law, experience and other proficiencies. Maturity normally comes with years, and while brilliance and quick up-take constitute great qualifications, they cannot provide a substitute for the great faculty which eludes description but which comes as a result of maturity. Keeping in view this fact, we feel that the minimum age at which a person should be appointed a judge of the High Court should be 45. We may add that normally, in our opinion the requisite maturity which is needed for a High Court judge is acquired near-about the age of 48.

We are, however, recommending the minimum age of 45, as we do not want to circumscribe within too narrow limits the area of selection. So far as the upper age limit is concerned, we feel that for persons selected from the Bar, the limit should be 54 years. By that age a member of the Bar, if he has real merit, would have already made a mark and would be considered for selection to the Bench. It is, in our opinion, not desirable to appoint members of the Bar as judges when the tenure on the Bench is going to be less than even eight years. So far as District and other Service Judges are concerned, we do not wish to prescribe any maximum age limit for their appointment, because in some States their turn for appointment may not come till they are about to reach the age of superannuations District or Service Judges.

6.7. We are conscious of the fact that there have been distinguished judges in the past who were appointed at an age younger than that indicated by us and who even at that age made a significant contribution. Those great judges, however, constituted exceptional cases. When laying down a rule, we have to take into account the normal and usual type of cases. We may also add that the age limit indicated by us should, in our view, be ordinarily adhered to. In exceptional cases and for reasons to be stated, it should be open to the authorities concerned to appoint persons who are not within the age group.



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