Rajya Sabha member and Senior Advocate P Wilson has written to the Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju calling for the Central government's support to pass laws for setting up regional Benches of the Supreme Court and for increasing the age of High Court Judges from the present 62 years to 65 years. .In his letter dated September 4, 2021, Wilson also urged the Union government to take steps to ensure that there is more social diversity and proportionate State representation when it comes to the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of India. .Regarding the demand for Regional Benches of the Supreme Court, Wilson reiterated concerns that access to the top court is presently available only to citizens who are geographically close to the Supreme Court and the financially privileged class "to whom costs of litigation and travel do not matter.".Wilson emphasised that access to justice is a fundamental right, stating that there is an urgent need for the setting up of permanent regional Benches of the Supreme Court at Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata for the North, South, West and East Zones..“I have raised this issue many times on the Parliament and I have also brought a Bill to the Rajya Sabha as a Private Member’s Bill to amend Article 130 of the Constitution to provide for the establishment of Permanent Regional Benches of the Supreme Court to be established in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata," Wilson recounted in the letter. .In this backdrop, he requested the Union government through Law Minister Rijiju to support the passage of Wilson's Private Member Bill for setting up regional Supreme Court Benches, adding that the same is needed to uphold the litigant-public’s right to access to justice..P Wilson has long been a staunch advocate for setting up regional Supreme Court Benches.Months into his role as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, Wilson had raised the issue on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, along with Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko.Earlier, the then Union Law Minister RS Prasad responded, in letters addressed to Wilson and Vaiko, that Regional Benches of the Supreme Court could not be set up due to Constitutional obstacles and given that a related issue is pending before the Supreme Court in the National Court of Appeal case..On the topic of retirement age for High Court Judges, Wilson pointed out in his letter to Rijiju that the backlog of cases in the higher judiciary is a matter of grave public concern. As per recent statistics, there are 58, 669 cases pending before the Supreme Court and about 45 lakh cases pending before the High Courts, the letter stated. .While so, one of the chief causes for such delay in disposing cases is the large number of vacancies in High Courts across the country, Wilson said. .This situation is further worsened by the fact that when judges retire, appointment of new Judges in their places is not immediate, he pointed out.."The Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of Judges states that the process of filing up vacancies must commence six months prior to the expected date of retirement of High Court Judges, so that the vacancy is immediately filled upon retirement of a Judge. However, due to various reasons, this process is not complied on time leading to large number of vacancies," the letter added. .One of the ways in which this situation can be ameliorated is by increasing the age of retirement of High Court Judges from 62 to 65 years, he highlighted. .He also recalled in his letter that the retirement age of High Court judges was earlier increased from 60 to 62 years in 1963 by the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of India. The 107th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice had also recommended the increase of the retirement age of judges of High Court from 62 to 65 years, he pointed out. .Wilson urged the Union Law Minister and the Union government to support the Private Member’s Bill introduced by him in the Rajya Sabha in the last session, which calls for increasing the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 years..Finally, Wilson has reiterated concerns that there appears to be a ‘diversity deficit’ in the Supreme Court and the High Courts. A letter on the issue was addressed recently as well, on August 14. .Diversity is fundamental to the quality of judging, the letter said. Many social groups, including women, are poorly represented in the higher judiciary, it further said, adding that this may mean that their rights are not being properly safeguarded. .People are apprehensive that a very narrow, homogeneous group of judges belonging to certain class alone cannot necessarily reflect the views and values of society as a whole, particularly on issues involving diverse, linguistic, cultural and generational matters because they would require more perspective, Wilson highlighted..He also expressed that he is glad to note that in the recent appointments made to the Supreme Court, three judges appointed were women. This trend should continue in future appointments as well, Wilson said. .Social diversity, the letter stated, should be incorporated into the Memorandum of Procedure, so that it is mandatory for diversity to be factored in when it comes to appointment of judges, while also keeping intact the other requirements of merit, integrity etc..Wilson added that the Union government should take steps to ensure the equal representation of all States, in proportion to the size of their High Courts, on the Bench of the Supreme Court.