No Earmarking Court Fees To Add Judges : Minister

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) Notwithstanding expert advice for multifold increase in Judges' number, the government has no proposal to earmark court fees for augmenting judicial strength, Parliament was told today.

''There is no such proposal before the government,'' Law and Justice Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

Indian National Congress Member from Andhra Pradesh Gireesh Kumar Sanghi had asked the Minister whether the government would ''earmark court fee levied by States exclusively for judicial kitty to augment the strength of Judges.'' Recalling the 1987 Law Commission report, Bhardwaj said it had recommended increasing Judges' strength per million population from 10.5 to 50 judges. He said the ''present judge strength in India is 14 per million population.'' In March 2002, the Supreme Court directed raising the strength of the subordinate judiciary from the existing 10.5 judges per million people to 50 judges within five years in a phased manner to be set by the Law and Justice Ministry.

The Central government has filed an affidavit in the apex court praying that it be allowed to decide such increases in respect of Union Territories-- for which it is administratively responsible-- based on workload and pendency of cases. The matter is pending.

Bhardwaj said ''all State governments are also party to this case.'' The government recently increased High Court Judges strength by 152, but vacancies remain a matter of concern.

UNI MJ RP HS1651

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