The four new judges of Supreme Court on Monday took oath of office, taking the total strength of judges in the top court to 34, PTI reported.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justices Krishna Murari, S Ravindra Bhat, V Ramasubramanian and Hrishikesh Roy.

Ramasubramanian had headed the Himachal Pradesh High Court while Murari had been the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Kerala High Court had been headed by Roy, while Bhat had been chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court.

The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the names of the judges to the government last month. On August 7, the Rajya Sabha passed the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019, to increase the number of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34 in order to reduce the pendency of cases.

On July 31, the Union Cabinet had approved the proposal to increase the strength of judges in the Supreme Court. The strength was last increased from 26 to 31 in 2009, and all positions got filled this year for the first time in over a decade.

In June, 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. Gogoi had also highlighted that the lack of sufficient judges came in the way of setting up five-judge Constitution benches to substantial cases.

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