Judges of the Supreme Court of India

The Union Cabinet has approved the increase in the number of judges in the Supreme Court from 31 to 34. This comes at the time when the number of court cases in the country is rising and the time for litigation has increased significantly. It is expected that the increase in the number of judges in the Supreme Court will reduce the workload of the existing judges and accelerate the judgment in crucial cases.

What has happened?

  • The number of judges of the Supreme Court is determined by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956.
  • The present strength of the Supreme Court is 31 as the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 was last amended in 2009 and it increased the number of judges from 25 to 30 and the Chief Justice of India.
  • The previous increase before that had taken place in the year 1988 when the law was amended to add 7 judges (from 18 to 25) plus the Chief Justice of India.
  • The current Chief Justice of India had written a letter to the Prime Minister of India pointing out the lack of judges in the Court which caused it to scale back the formation of Constitution Benches and not deliver judgments fast enough.

What was the law??

  • Initially, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 had the provision for 10 judges and the Chief Justice of India.
  • The numbers were initially increased to 13 in 1960, and to 17 in 1977 by separate amendments.

What happens now?

The bill will allow the Supreme Court to have a Chief Justice and 33 other judges after it receives the parliamentary nod.?

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