Varying pay, perks to tribunal heads irks ex-judge


Gandhinagar : The Gujarat High Court is set to hear a petition asking it to direct the state government to stop discriminating between two retired judges of the court who head different tribunals in the state.

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A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed Oct 15 by advocates practicing at the Gujarat Public Works Contracts Disputes Arbitration Tribunal (GPWDCAT) after its chairman, B.J. Sethna, a retired judge of the court, threatened to resign alleging that the head of Gujarat Value Added Tax Tribunal (GVATT) K.M. Mehta, also a retired judge, received more pay and perks than him.

“The honourable chairman of the tribunal ought to be granted the same status and emoluments as the president of Value Added Tax Tribunal, as both appointees are retired judges of the high court,” K.G. Sukhwani, counsel for the petitioners, said Monday.

He said that the public works disputes tribunal needs to fill up vacancies and requires more infrastructure. “Four laptops and 13 computers are needed at the tribunal for smooth functioning. At the moment, the chairman has to pass hand-written orders.”

The petition also says that the retirement age for the public works disputes tribunal chairman is 65 years, whereas the president of the VAT Tribunal has been given a two-year extension beyond the age of 65.

The chairman of the public works disputes tribunal is entitled to receive his last pay drawn minus pension as his monthly compensation, the petition says, while the VAT Tribunal chairman receives a fixed pay of Rs.80,000 and allowances totalling Rs.29,240, and pension is not deducted from his pay, the petition said.