Chief Justice of India Current Affairs - 2019

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Four new Supreme Court judges appointed, strength now 34

The Centre on 18 September 2019 cleared the appointments of four new judges to the Supreme Court. With the appointment, the judges’ strength in apedx court is now 34. On August 30, the Supreme Court four chief justices for the appointment to the top court in order to fill the vacant posts.

Key Highlights

The newly appointed SC judges are-

  1. Haryana High Court Chief Justice Krishna Murari
  2. Himachal Pradesh High Court Chief Justice V. Ramasubramanian
  3. Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice S Ravindra Bhat
  4. Kerala High Court Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Once the newly appointed 4 SC Judges takes oath, the total strength of Supreme Court (34) will be highest ever till date.

The Supreme Court vacancies had increased its judicial strength from 31 to 34 (including Chief Justice of India) following the enactment of Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Bill of 2019 into law. One of said four judges would replace the vacancy following retirement of SC Justice A.M. Sapre.

Background

Originally, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 provided for a maximum number of 10 judges (excluding CJI). This strength was increased to 13 by Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1960, and to 17 in 1977. However, till the end of 1979, the working strength of Supreme Court was, restricted to 15 judges by cabinet (excluding CJI). But the restriction was withdrawn at request of chief justice of India.

In 1986, the strength of top court was increased to 25 (excluding CJI). Later, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2009 further augmented the strength of SC from 25 to 30.

Lok Sabha passes Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019

Lok Sabha has passed Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019 to increase the number of Supreme Court judges from the present 30 to 33 (excluding Chief Justice of India). The Bill amends Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Ac, 1956. It helps to meet long standing demand of increasing strength of Supreme Court judges to resolve number of pending cases can be brought down substantially.

Salient features of Bill

The Bill to increase strength of Supreme Court judges by 10% i.e. to 33 from present 30 (excluding Chief Justice of India).

As of now full sanctioned strength of SC is 31 (including CJI). Once this bill gets in Rajya Sabha also and gets full parliamentary nod and presidential assent, the number of judges would go up to 34, including the CJI.

The purpose of increasing in number of judges is to allow Supreme Court to function more efficiently and effictively towards attaining the ultimate goal of of rendering speedy jusstice to the litigants.

Background

The strength of Supreme Court is fixed by law enacted Parliament as per Article 124 (1) of Constitution of India. Therefore, strength of Supreme Court judges can be increased by way of parliamentary legislation. For this purpose Parliament has enacted Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956, which originally provided for maximum of 10 judges (excluding CJI). This number was increased to 13 by Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1960 and to 17 in 1977.

However till the end of 1979, the working strength of Supreme Court was restricted to 15 judges (excluding CJI) by cabinet. But the restriction was later withdrawn at request of CJI. In 1986, strength of Supreme Court was increased to 25, excluding CJI. Subsequently, Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2009 further increased strength of Supreme Court judges from 25 to 30 (excluding CJI).