Govt looking into Law Commission report to augment judges' strength

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) Appalled at the burgeoning number of pending cases in various courts, the Law Commission has recommended that the strength of judges per million population should be increased from 10.5 to 50 judges as an imperative measure to ensure a faster justice delivery system.

The present judge strength in India is merely 14 per million population.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Law and Justice Minister H R Bhardwaj said today the recommendation was made by the Law Commission in its 120th report.

Acting on the report, the government had already increased the strength of judges in various high courts by 152, he pointed out.

With regard to subordinate judiciary, the minister said the Supreme Court, in its judgement in a case in March 2002 had directed that an increase in the judges' strength from the existing 10.5 per to 50 judges per 10 lakh people should be effected within a period of five years in a phased manner to be determined and directed by the Union Ministry of Law.

The Central Government filed an affidavit in the apex court praying that the increase in judges' strength in the Union Territories, for which the Central Government is administratively responsible be allowed based on workload and pendency of cases.

Mr Bhardwaj said the matter was sub-judice.

As directed by the court, the Centre also filed an affidavit indicating the quantum of funds required in compliance of the court judgement. All state governments are also a part of this case.

Under Article 235 of the Constitution, the administrative control over the members of subordinate judiciary in the states vests with the concerned High Court and the state government.

''Accordingly, the Centre has requested all the state governments for taking necessary action to increase the judges' strength as per the direction of the court and also to fill up the vacant posts of judicial officers on an urgent basis,'' he said.

Replying to another query, he said there was no proposal before the government to earmark court fee levied by states exclusively for the judicial kitty to augment the strength of judges.

UNI SKS PY HS146

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