No plans to defer salary of judges, says CM after missive from HC registrar

(Recasts with with CM's quotes) Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi, Apr 29 (PTI) The Kerala government on Wednesday made it clearthat 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.

'No decision has been taken on thesalary 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 shouldbe taken separately', he said.

The RG wrote to the Chief Secretary after the government on April 22 issued an orderdeferring disbursementof 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'ableChief Justice and Judges cannot be varied or deferred by the Government, through an executive order', the letter dated April 27, said.

Vijayan said thaton earlieroccasions, 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,theChief Justice has directed the Registry to inform the same to the government and take necessary steps to excludethe judges of the high court from the purview of thegovernment 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 RRT TGB UD VS VS