Former Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki proposed a compromise between the judiciary and Shura Council that would see retirement age reduced from 70 to 65 instead of 60.
Speaking to Turkish state news agency Anadolu, Mekki suggested judges currently over the new retirement age not be affected by the change, but every judge who reaches the age of 65 after the law passes be retired.
“The main problem with the judiciary law that provoked opposition from judges is the reduction of the retirement age. I propose it be reduced to 65 and that it not apply to judges already over that age, who should retire at 70,” said Mekki, who resigned partially because of the proposed law.
The currently proposed amendments to the judiciary law would forcibly retire an estimated 3,500 judges as soon as it passes. The Shura Council on Saturday referred several proposed amendment drafts to its Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs for discussion.
Court of Cassation Chief Justice and Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) Chairman Momtaz Motwaly said he had yet to receive any official report or request from the Shura Council over the SJC’s input regarding the law.
The constitution states that any legislation regarding the judiciary cannot pass before judges are consulted, and Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy said the council would do just that in the Saturday session.
Motwaly added that the SJC’s decision to suspend preparations for the upcoming Justice Conference was still in effect. The conference was meant to be held for judges to propose their own amendments to the law following meetings with President Mohamed Morsi, but the Shura Council brought up the issue of amending the law again, angering the judges.
Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Bagato, a former Supreme Constitutional Court judge, said he would not allow any attack on the independence of the judiciary during his term.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference following a Shura Council session, Bagato said all branches of state must respect each other’s independence and that while the Shura Council had the right to legislate, it should wait for the input of judges before discussing any amendments.
Bagato added that he was against the lowering of retirement ages for judges and that no “judicial massacre” would happen while he is minister.