The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to increase the strength of judges in the Supreme Court from 31 to 34 to resolve the problem of pending cases in the top court. The strength was last increased from 26 to 31 in 2009, and all positions got filled recently for the first time in over a decade.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said that once the bill is approved in Parliament, it will “ensure that people get justice swiftly and cases are disposed of quickly”.
In June, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the top court had 58,669 pending cases and the number was rising due to more cases being filed. The chief justice had asked Modi to “augment the judge strength in the SC appropriately” so that it was able to function more efficiently.
The CJI also told Modi that the lack of sufficient number of judges prevented him from setting up five-judge Constitution benches to hear cases involving substantial questions of law or the interpretation of the Constitution. He had also requested the government to bring about constitutional amendments in order to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65.