Retired on February 12, Justice S Abdul Nazeer was appointed as Governor of Andhra Pradesh, shortly after his six-year term as a Supreme Court judge ended on January 4. Justice Nazeer previously served on the Karnataka High Court. Although this is not the first time a former Supreme Court justice has been appointed as a state governor, it raises concerns about the time lag between a judge’s retirement and their appointment to a political position.
According to observers, the shortened cooling-off period indicates a decline in respect for judicial probity standards among retiring judges and the government that hires them. The Law Commission has previously stated that Supreme Court judges should not seek such appointments on the eve or after their retirement.
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Move over retirement parties, hello governorships!
Any discipline would want to retain and promote its best talent, as losing experience and knowledge would be a huge waste. Judiciary is not an exception either. However, due to the unrealistic retirement age of 65, the judiciary’s power appears limited.
With medical advances, 60 may be considered the new middle age, and politicians in their 70s can still effectively lead. In contrast, judges in India are expected to retire at the age of 65, whereas judges in the United States are appointed for life.
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And let’s face it, if medical science has extended our middle age, shouldn’t the retirement age of judges also be reconsidered?
Judges’ retirement policies, including post-retirement benefits such as housing, pensions, and medical coverage, must be revised. The retirement age should be raised immediately so that judges have no reason to seek other employment after retiring. Their post-retirement needs should be met, and any sinecure should be provided by non-government institutions.