A proposed legislation paving the way for increasing the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65 years was approved by the Union Cabinet on Friday.
The measure will help around 630 judges of the 21 High Courts in the country.
Official sources said though the Law Ministry is keen on introducing the legislation in the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament, various political parties will have to be taken into confidence as constitutional amendment is needed for the purpose.
A constitutional amendment needs support of two-thirds of the members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily favours a consensus to emerge before moving the amendment, the sources said.
The last time the retirement age of High Court judges was increased was in 1963.
The age was then increased from 60 to the present 62 years.
The proposal was first mooted by then Law Minister H R Bhardwaj in April 2008.
He had initiated discussion with the opposition on the issue, but lack of political consensus led to the issue being put on the backburner.
"Raising the retirement age of High Court Judges from 62 to 65 years will also aid in elimination of vacancies," a Law Ministry document on legal and judicial reforms approved by the Union Cabinet in November last year had said.
"If the retirement age of HC judges is increased, most HC judges would not like to get elevated to the SC...they want to come to the apex court as the retirement age in SC is 65," a Ministry official said.
Over 40 lakh cases are pending in the High Courts which are facing a shortfall of 265 judges, as per the latest official data.
While the sanctioned strength was 895, the High Courts were working with 630 judges.