Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has written three letters to Prime Minister Modi with solutions to tackle to vast pendency of cases, reported Times of India. Currently, there are 43 lakh cases pending in the courts. CJI Gogoi has made 3 vital requests to the Prime Minister – increase the number of Judges in the Supreme Court which currently stands at 31, increase the retirement age of Judges from 62 to 65 and revive the tradition of tenure appointments of retired SC and HC Judges so they can be assigned pending cases.
In the letters, CJI Gogoi reportedly requested the Prime Minister to take up the task of increasing the strength of Judges in the Supreme Court on an urgent basis since because of the dearth of Judges, he is unable to form 5 Judge Benches to hear matters that involve interpretation of the law and constitution.
CJI pointed out that in 1988, the strength of SC Judges was increased from 18 to 26 and then again in 2009 it was increased from 26 to 31. In fact, it is only recently, after a decade that the Supreme Court has a full strength of 31 judges. CJI said that the strength of SC judges should be increased from 31 to 37.
The letter said, “One of the prime reasons why we are not able to contain the ever-growing pendency is a shortage of HC judges. At present, 399 posts, or 37% of sanctioned judge-strength, are vacant. The existing vacancies need to be filled immediately. However, despite the best efforts put in by all stakeholders, it has not been possible to appoint judges to bring the working judge-strength anywhere close to the sanctioned judge- strength.”
Further, CJI Gogoi said, “In the present scenario, it is my considered view that the retirement age of HC judges should be raised by three years, This, in turn, would help in improving the vacancy position and consequently reducing pendency of cases. This would also be in consonance with the (repeated) recommendations made by parliamentary standing committees.”
The Supreme Court currently has 58,669 cases pending. His letter said that currently, there are 26 cases which are pending for more than 25 years, 100 cases pending for 20 years, 593 cases pending for 15 years and 4977 cases pending for 10 years.