THE RETIRED Judges Association (RJA) has expressed gratitude for the new pension arrangements contained in two Bills, which increase the retirement benefits of judges and Members of Parliament and Senators.
Head of the RJA, former Appeal Court Justice Zainool Hosein, yesterday issued a statement on behalf of the Association, stating that “a new and invigorating era has dawned”.
With the passage of the two Bills last Friday — the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Bill and the Judges Salaries and Pensions (Amendment) — have come significant increases. Hosein said that since the RJA was formed in 1999, “strident efforts were made with successive Governments to no avail.”
“Since 1934 the judges’ pension has been based on a convoluted formula, and upon the granting of independence and without any sufficient thought, it was re-enacted by the current Judges’ Salaries and Pensions Act of 1962 with all its imperfections”, stated Hosein.
Hosein added: “That 1962 Act continued to tether a retired judge to a pension level that remained stagnant for the rest of his life. I do not believe that any trade union in the land would have withstood such an injustice without some convulsion. The retired judges have for over 13 years suffered in silence with the result that some of their senior brethren were in receipt of pensions which could not enable them to live in a reasonable lifestyle becoming of a judge of the Supreme Court. Many have died after having endured, in the twilight of their lives, serious illnesses that rendered some bedridden and incontinent, and unable to meet the rising costs of living, medicare and medications. Most regrettably, it was a problem about which successive Chief Justices paid scant attention, maybe because they, upon retirement continued to be in receipt of their full salary.”