[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Union Government today introduced in the Lok Sabha “The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2019” which seeks to increase the number of Supreme Court judges from the existing 31 to 34.
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill refers to the constant increase in the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court of India to justify the legislation. As on the June 1, 2019, there were 58669 cases pending in the Supreme Court.
“The Chief Justice of India has intimated that inadequate strength of judges is one of the prime reasons for backlog of cases in the Supreme Court. It is not possible for the Chief Justice of India to constitute a five judges bench on a regular basis to hear cases involving substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution as it would result in the constitution of less number of division benches which would lead to a delay in hearing of other civil and criminal matters”, the statement of objects and reasons says.
Once the bill is passed by the Parliament, the Supreme Court’s strength will increase to 34 (including the CJI) as against the existing 31.