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No plans for salary cut of judges, says CM after missive from Kerala High Court Registrar General

Thiruv: The Kerala government on Wednesday made it clear that government had no plans to recover any amount from the emoluments of the judges of the state high court after its Registrar General shot off a letter informing their salaries cannot be deferred through an executive order.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “No decision has been taken on the salary cut or deferring of salary of high court judges at the state government level.”

“No decision has been taken on the salary cut or deferring of salary of high court judges at the state government level. They are part of the Constitutional body”, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

He was replying to a question about the Kerala High Court Registrar General (RG) writing to Chief Secretary not to bring the judges under the purview of the salary cut.

“Decision on that should be taken separately”, he said.

The RG wrote to the Chief Secretary after the government on April 22 issued an order deferring disbursement of salaries for a period of six days every month from April to August this year for all who draw their wages from the Consolidated Fund of the state as part of the finance conservation measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It may be noted that as per Article 221 of the Constitution, the salaries are paid to the Honourable judges as determined by the Parliament and they shall not be varied to their disadvantage after the appointment.

“Therefore the salaries and allowances of the Hon’able Chief Justice and Judges cannot be varied or deferred by the Government, through an executive order”, the letter dated April 27, said.

Vijayan said that on earlier occasions, the high court judges have voluntarily donated to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. The courts took initiative to donate during the devastating floods in the last two consecutive years, he said.

He also said Supreme Court judges had also taken initiative to help the state and had contributed to CMDRF. The RG also stated the Chief Justice had already taken initiative to collect contributionsfrom the Judges for makingdonations to the CMDRF.

Hence,the Chief Justice has directed the Registry to inform the same to the government and take necessary steps to exclude the judges of the high court from the purview of the government order,the letter had stated.

Incidentally, the high court had on Tuesday stayed the government order for salary cut of its employees, observing that it lacked legal backing, following which the state cabinet decided to bring an ordinance.

The government’s salary cut move has been criticised by the opposition Congress and challenged in the court by a section of employees’ organisations.

PTI

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