New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has signed into law a Bill which seeks to increase the sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court from 30 to 33 besides the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament earlier this week.
With no vacancy, the present strength of the apex court is 31, including the chief justice of India. After the law comes into force, the sanctioned strength of SC will be 33, besides the CJI.
The move to increase the strength of judges by 3 or 10 per cent comes against the backdrop of rising cases in the top court which stand at nearly 60,000. The decision also comes days after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the number of judges in the top court.
According to a written reply by the Law Ministry to a Rajya Sabha question on July 11,59,331 cases are pending in the top court. Due to paucity of judges, the required number of constitution benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed, the CJI said.
“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. Once the amended law comes into force, the Supreme Court collegium will recommend three names to the government for appointment as SC judges, a government functionary said.