Chief Justice of India(CJI) has written to Prime Minister(PM) requesting for the passage of two constitutional amendments which are (a)suitable increase in the strength of SC judges which currently stands at 31 and (b)raising the retirement age of HC judges from 62 to 65 years.
The Supreme Court has a maximum strength of 31 judges and all positions got filled recently for the first time in over a decade.The strength was last increased from 26 to 31 in 2009.
CJI has also told that not having enough judges has prevented him from setting up five-judge Constitution benches to hear cases involving substantial questions of law or the interpretation of the Constitution.
According to data put out on government website,the shortfall of judges in the country’s High courts is acute.The sanctioned judge-strength is 1,079.There is a shortage of 399 judges.
An effort to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years was made by the government in 2010 by way of the 114th constitutional amendment bill.
But the parliamentary standing committee that studied the bill was of the view that increasing the retirement age of judges was not a solution to the problem of delayed appointment of judges in the high courts.
Further,the CJI has also sought the revival of an old tradition to appoint retired Supreme Court and High Court judges under Articles 128 and 224A of the Constitution to hear cases pending for years.
Article 128 of the Constitution allows the chief justice of the Supreme Court with the prior consent of President to appoint retired judges to hear cases if they are willing.
Article 224A allows the Chief Justice of High court with the prior consent of President to appoint additional judges to High Courts if required with his consent.
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