Supreme Court To Hear On Friday, Plea of 7 Patna High Court Judges Challenging Closure of Their GPF Accounts
The Supreme Court today agreed to list on Friday a plea filed by seven sitting judges of the Patna High Court assailing the direction issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice for the closure of their General Provident Fund (GPF) accounts.
“List on Friday”, directed a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha when an early date of hearing was sought in the matter.
Advocate-on-Record Prem Prakash informed the Court that the Union Ministry of Law and Justice has written a letter to the Accountant General of Bihar to immediately stop contribution and closure of GPF accounts of seven judges of the High Court who were elevated from judicial services.
In December 2022, the Accountant General communicated the formal decision on the closure of their GPF accounts to the Registrar General of the High Court in view of the decision taken by the Union Government.
"Letter with drastic consequences. GPF account was stopped," said AoR Prakash.
"What? GPF account stopped of judges? Who is the petitioner?" asked a surprised CJI.
The Court directed listing of the matter on Friday (February 24, 2023) when it was told that the petitioners are seven judges of the Patna High Court.
The direction for closure of their GPF account came in the backdrop of the fact that before elevation as judges of the High Court, the petitioners were covered under the National Pension Scheme as judicial officers.
The proviso to Section 20 of the High Court Judges Salaries and Conditions of Service Act, 1954 provides, “that a Judge who has held any other pensionable civil post under the Union or a State shall continue to subscribe to the Provident Fund to which he was subscribing before his appointment as a Judge”
Cause Title- Justice Shailendra Singh & Ors. v. Union of India & Anr.