New Delhi: The Centre is going to introduce  bills to amend the High Court and Supreme Court Judges(Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Act in the coming winter session of the parliament with a view to give a salary hike to the top judges in the country.

A judges committee has recommended a pay hike of Rs 2.8 lakh for supreme court judges and Rs 2.5 lakh for high court judges. A supreme court judge at present gets Rs 1.5 lakh a month in hand after all deductions from salary and allowances. The chief justice of India gets a higher amount than this, while the judges of the high court get a lesser amount. This amount does not include the rent-free residences provided to the judges while they are in service.

Government is unlikely to give such a big hike to the judges as recommended by the judges committee.  The hiked salary, however, would be given in retrospective effect from January 1, 2016.

While the approved strength of judges in the apex court is 31, it is 1,079 in the 24 high courts. There are several vacancies.

In 2016, the then chief justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government seeking a hike in salaries of the supreme court and the high court judges on the basis of the recommendations made by a committee of judges which was set up by the CJI to look into the issue of salary and emoluments.

As recently as last week, a supreme court bench comprising of justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazir, while hearing on a case relating to grant of washing allowance to apex court staff and officers,  had asked additional solicitor general P S Narasimha about the salary of judges of the supreme court and high courts which was to be brought on par with Seventh Pay Commission recommendations for central government employees.

The government, meanwhile, has increased the dearness allowance (DA) of judges of supreme court and the 24 high courts .  The department of justice in law ministry, in a letter to the secretary general of the apex court and registrars general of the high courts last month, has said that the DA of the judges has been revised to 139 per cent with effect from July 1 “at the same rates (139 per cent) as are admissible to the members of the all-India service”.