The Supreme Court Collegium had prescribed 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 so as to reduce the number of pendency of cases.
APPOINTMENT OF FOUR NEW JUDGES:
The Supreme Court (SC) will swear in four new judges on Monday, expanding the total strength of judges to 34 from 31 as endorsed under the amended law. The four new makes judges who will make vow are:
- Chief Justice V. Ramasubramanian of Himachal Pradesh,
- Chief Justice Krishna Murari from Punjab and Haryana High Court,
- Rajasthan Chief Justice S.A. Ravindra Bhat and
- Kerala Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy.
The appointments come just four months after a past set of four judges, including Justice BB Gavai, 58, a previous Bombay High Court judge who will end up Chief Justice of India in 2025, were included.
AMENDMENTS IN THE SUPREME COURT (NUMBER OF JUDGES) ACT, 1956:
The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 initially accommodated a limit of ten judges (not including the CJI).
This number was expanded to 13 by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1960, and to 17 in 1977.
The working strength of the Supreme Court was, in any case, confined to 15 judges by the Cabinet (not including the CJI) till the end of 1979. But the restriction was pulled back in line with the CJI of India.
In 1986, the judges of the apex court were expanded to 25, not including the CJI. Hence, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2009 further expanded the strength of the court from 25 to 30.
CJI RANJAN GOGOI ADMINISTERED THE OATH OF FOUR NEW JUDGES:
In June, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the top court had 58,669 pending cases and the number was increasing because of more cases being recorded. The CJI had asked Modi to “increase the judge strength in the SC suitably” with the goal that it had the option to work all the more proficiently. Gogoi had also mentioned the fact that the absence of adequate judges came in the way for setting up five-judge Constitution bench in substantial cases.
The expansion of eight Supreme Court made a decision in about a couple of months is an attempt to lessen the build-up of cases. As per the Law Ministry, more than 11.5 lakh cases were pending in July.
The top court has likewise, permitted single-judge bench to hear appeals of bail and anticipatory bail in cases punishable with offenses with prison terms of as long as seven years.
The Central government had on 18 September cleared the SC collegiums-prescribed names of judges for the appointment.
Post the enactment of the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Bill of 2019 into law, the strength of the apex court has been increased to 34.
In the light of a higher tally of SC judges, a single judge bench will be assigned to deal with bail and transfer petition.
EXTRA COURTROOMS TO HEAR PENDING CASES:
Alongside the appointment of four new judges, the apex court has likewise made two extra court rooms to hear pending cases. At present the Supreme Court has 15 court rooms and, as indicated by a roundabout issued a week ago, courts 16 and 17 have been made near to court room number 10.
Parliament had, in 2008, endorsed an expansion in the number of judges which previously stood at 27 including the Chief Justice.
India is not a small country. It has second largest population in the world and the crime rate in India is also very high. The courts are bombarded with number of cases every day and the number of pending cases in India is shocking. Increasing in the number of judges will effectively reduce the number of pending cases in India and also the strength of our judiciary will increase with this.