Cabinet approves increasing strength of Supreme Court Judges

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved increasing the number of judges in Supreme Court from the present 31 to 34 (i.e. by 10%), including Chief Justice of India (CJI). In this regard it has approved bill to amend Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956. At present, the full sanctioned strength of SC is 31 (including CJI). Once this bill gets parliamentary nod, the number of judges would go up to 34, including the CJI.

Background

This decision of Union Cabinet comes after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested to increase number of judges in the Supreme Court. CJI in his letter had urged to augment judge-strength in SC appropriately so that it can function more efficiently and effectively and go a long way to attain ultimate goal of rendering timely justice to litigant public. He also had mentioned that due to paucity of judges, the required number of Constitution Benches of SC were not being formed to decide important cases involving questions of law. According to written reply by Law Minister to Rajya Sabha there are total 11, 59,331 cases are pending in the Supreme court.

SC Composition: Constitutional and Statutory Provisions

The strength of Supreme Court is fixed by law made by Parliament as per Article 124 (1) of Constitution of India. Therefore, the strength can be increased by way of parliamentary legislation. In pursuance of this Parliament has enacted Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956, which originally provided for maximum of 10 judges (excluding the CJI). The law was last amended in 2009 to increase judges’ strength from 25 to 30 (excluding the CJI).

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