Supreme Court gets four new judges, its strength goes up to highest-ever of 34
New Delhi, Sep 19: Four new judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court, taking its strength to 34, the highest ever. Justices Krishna Murari, SR Bhat, V Ramasubramanian and Hrishikesh Roy have been appointed as judges of the Supreme Court.
Justices V Ramasubramanian and Krishna Murari head the Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and Haryana high courts respectively. Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Hrishikesh Roy head the Rajasthan and Kerala high courts respectively.
On July 31, the Union Cabinet had approved increasing the number of Supreme Court judges from 30 to 33, besides the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 7 and was signed by the President on August 10. The top court will now have 33 judges, besides the CJI.
In May this year, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he sought to increase the number of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years.
In the three letters written to PM Modi, the CJI had implored urgent action stating that there was pendency of 58,669 cases in the top court.
The CJI said, due to shortage of judges, the requisite number of Constitution benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed.
"You would recall that way back in 1988, about three decades ago, the judge strength of the SC was increased from 18 to 26, and then again after two decades in 2009, it was increased to 31, including the CJI, to expedite disposal of cases to keep pace with the rate of institution," he wrote.
The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956, originally provided for a maximum of 10 judges (excluding the CJI). This number was increased 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, however, restricted to 15 judges by the cabinet (excluding the chief Justice of India) till the end of 1979. But the restriction was withdrawn at the request of the chief justice of India.
In 1986, the strength of the top court was increased to 25, excluding the CJI. Subsequently, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2009 further augmented the strength of the court from 25 to 30.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)