Judiciary is one of the main organs of the Government. The main task of the judiciary is to provide justice to the individuals seeking it. They are entitled to certain perks and benefits. These benefits include salary, specific allowances, privileges, etc. The salary of judges of the Supreme Court and High Court are paid from the Consolidated Fund of India and states respectively. Even the administrative expenses of the court are paid off from the consolidated fund. Salaries and perks even ensure that judges are motivated to work effectively.
In order to understand the salary system of judges, it can be studied on three structural levels, i.e., Supreme Court Judges, High Court Judges, and Subordinate Court Judges.
Salary of Supreme Court Judges
The salary payable to a Supreme Court Judge was previously, specified in the Constitution in Article 125(1) and the Second Schedule. However, through the 54th Constitutional-Amendment, Parliament has gained the power to determine the salaries of Supreme Court Judges by law. Parliament also has the authority to determine questions relating to the privileges, allowances, etc., for these Judges.
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None of these can, however, be varied by Parliament to the disadvantage of a Judge after his appointment to the Court. These matters are now regulated by the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.
At present, the salary of Chief Justice of India is Rs 2,80,000/- per mensem (month). While, on the other hand, the Supreme Court Judges are entitled to a salary of Rs 2,50,000/- per mensem. In addition to the salary, the Judges are also provided with allowances, for example, travelling, leave, sumptuary, etc. Post-retirement perks are also provided to Supreme Court judges accordingly.
Salary of High Court Judges
Parliament has the authority to determine the salary of the High Court Judges by law. Until such provision is made for the purpose, salaries are provided as of under the Second Schedule of the Constitution. Further, Parliament is empowered to determine by law matters of allowances, rights in respect of leave of absence and pension.
Parliament may regulate these matters from time to time but never to the disadvantage of a Judge after his appointment. The rights of a Chief Justice of a High Court to receive a pension and other benefits, cannot be altered to his disadvantage, after his appointment.
Currently, the salary of judges in the High Court is provided under the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954. According to the latest amendment, the salary of Chief Justice of High Courts is fixed at Rs 2,50,000/- per mensem. Likewise, the high court judges are entitled to a salary of Rs 2,25,000/- per mensem. The High court judges are also provided all those amenities which are provided to the Supreme Court judges accordingly.
Salary of Subordinate Court Judges
The last hike of salaries to the subordinate judges took place in 2018 which was done on an interim basis through an order of the Supreme Court. Here the Supreme Court accepted the suggestions of Second National Judicial Pay Commission. The commission proposed a hike of 30% to the basic salary amount. This was accepted by the Supreme Court and implemented in All India Judges Association vs. Union of India on March 27, 2018.
The old entry-level salary for a junior civil judge was around Rs 45,000 per month, while a senior judge got Rs 80,000 approximately. The salary of a judge cannot be altered, to his disadvantage, during their term except for in the case of a financial emergency in the country.
However, the perks and benefits provided additionally to the judges on subordinate level vary from state to state. Allowances are provided to them in a similar manner.
In older times, the salary of judges was low enough to discourage law graduates from joining the judiciary. The hikes in salary from certain amendments, i.e., hike in 2010 (with retrospective effect from 2006) and the interim hike during 2018 played an important role in attracting fresh graduates in joining the judiciary. The perks and benefits offered to judges also ensure the same.
Thus, salaries not only help the judges in maintain their life standard accordingly but also, ensure that people are attracted towards the job of the judiciary.
 Article 125(2), Constitution of India 1950.
 Section 12A (i), Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.
 Ibid, Section 12A (ii).
 Supra note 1, Article 221(1).
 Ibid, Article 221(2).
 S.S. Sandhawalia J. v. Union of India, AIR 1990 P&H 198.
 The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Act, 2018.
 Writ Petition (Civil) No. 643/2015.