The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved increasing the number of Supreme Court judges from 30 to 33, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar informed. Now, the apex court will have 33 judges, besides the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
Once Parliament gives approval to the bill, the apex court will have a sanctioned strength of 34, including the CJI.
Last month, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he sought to increase the number of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years. In the three letters written to PM Modi, the CJI had implored urgent action stating that there was pendency of 58,669 cases in the top court.
The CJI said, due to shortage of judges, the requisite number of Constitution benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed. “You would recall that way back in 1988, about three decades ago, the judge strength of the SC was increased from 18 to 26, and then again after two decades in 2009, it was increased to 31, including the CJI, to expedite disposal of cases to keep pace with the rate of institution,” he wrote.
“I request you to kindly consider, on top priority, to augment the judge-strength in the SC appropriately so that it can function more efficiently and effectively as it will go a long way to attain ultimate goal of rendering timely justice to the litigant public,” he said.