The Government in reply to a question in the Parliament has shared the details of the vacancies of judges, pending cases as well as proposals in this regard. In a Statement made in the Lok Sabha, the Union Minister stated the following- 


"There is no shortage of Judges in the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has reached its full strength of 31 Judges for the first time since 2009. However, as on 01.07.2019 there are 403 vacancies in the High Courts. Initiation of proposal for appointment of Judges in the High Courts vests with the Chief Justice of the High Court. Appointment of Judges in the High Courts is a continuous collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary, as it requires consultation and approval from various Constitutional Authorities. While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges and increase in Judge Strength.

As on 01.07.2019, 59331 cases are pending in the Supreme Court and 43.55 Lakh cases are pending in High Courts.

The delay in disposal of cases in Higher Judiciary is not only due to shortage of Judges, but also due to various factors such as (i) increasing number of state and central legislation, (ii) accumulation of first appeals, (iii) continuation of ordinary civil jurisdiction in some of the High Courts, (iv) Appeals against orders of quasi-judicial forums goings to High Courts, (v) number of revision/appeals, (vi) frequent adjournments, (vii) indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction and (viii) lack of adequate arrangements to monitor, track and bunch cases for hearing, and (ix) long duration of vacation period of Court, (x) assigning work of administrative nature to the Judges, etc.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has sent proposals for augmenting the Judge-strength in Supreme Court of India appropriately so that it can function more efficiently & effectively and retain the goal of rendering timely justice to litigant public. The CJI has also proposed to increase the retirement age of High Court Judges for ensuring continued availability of more experienced judges for a longer tenure and for improving the vacancy position and reducing the pendency of cases.

The matter of augmenting the Judge-strength of the Supreme Court of India and increase in the retirement age of High Court Judges needs to be considered along with other measures to ensure transparency, accountability in the appointment of Judges and Court & Case management for reduction in pendency of cases in the Higher Judiciary."


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