Judge did not receive the salary: Patna High Court judge moves to the Supreme Court

A judge from the Patna High Court, Justice Rudra Prakash Mishra, has taken his case to the Supreme Court, stating that he hasn’t received his salary since being promoted to the High Court in November 2023. He argues that the delay is because he hasn’t been given a General Provident Fund (GPF) account, even though he completed all the required paperwork.

The Supreme Court has accepted Justice Mishra’s plea, where he is requesting the opening of a GPF account and the release of his salary. A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, issued notices to the Union of India, the State of Bihar, and the Registrar General of the Patna High Court. The court has set the case for consideration on January 29, 2024.

Justice Mishra, through his lawyer Advocate Prem Prakash, sought interim relief, but the court didn’t make any interim decisions. The judge claims that not having a GPF account has caused financial and mental instability, preventing him from receiving his salary since the promotion.

In his plea, Justice Mishra refers to Section 20 of the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954, seeking a declaration that he is entitled to a GPF account. The Act states that every judge can subscribe to the General Provident Fund, with a provision for judges who held other pensionable civil posts before their appointment to continue their subscription to the Provident Fund they were enrolled in previously.

This case follows a similar issue involving seven sitting judges of the Patna High Court who approached the Supreme Court last year. They faced the closure of their GPF accounts based on a letter from the Law Ministry. In response, the Supreme Court, led by CJI Chandrachud, directed the immediate release of salaries for these judges.

Justice Mishra’s case emphasizes the importance of prompt administrative processes for judges, particularly concerning financial matters like the GPF account, which affects their livelihood and well-being. The Supreme Court’s decision on January 29 will clarify the resolution of this matter and may establish a precedent for judges facing similar challenges.

In a broader context, these incidents underscore the need for streamlined administrative procedures to ensure the timely and efficient handling of judges’ financial matters, safeguarding their rights and well-being within the judicial system.

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