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In order to tackle the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court and High Courts, the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi has batted for Constitutional amendments to raise the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 years and to increase the strength of judges in the Supreme Court. CJI Gogoi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting Constitutional amendments to that effect, reports ToI.
The Supreme Court currently has a pendency of more than 58,000 cases. The CJI in his letter has stated that inadequate judge strength is holding back the CJI from constituting Constitution Benches to hear cases concerning the interpretation of the Constitution.
“You would recall that way back in 1988, about three decades ago, the judge strength of SC was increased from 18 to 26, and then again after two decades in 2009, it was increased to 31 including the CJI to expedite the disposal of cases to keep pace with the rate of the institution. In 2007, the pendency was 41,078; now, it stands at 58,669.”
In the light of the same, he has requested the Prime Minister to augment the strength of judges in Supreme Court so that it can function more effectively.
In another letter, the CJI has requested for Constitutional amendment to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65. He has pointed out pendency of the 43 lakh cases in 24 High Courts and the lack of judge strength in High Courts to deal with the same.
The letter states that posts of 399 High Court judges or 37 percent of sanctioned judge strength are lying vacant and despite best efforts by stakeholders, it has not been able to appoint judges to bring the working strength of High Courts upto the sanctioned strength.
Hence, CJI Gogoi has suggested increasing the retirement age of judges to 65 as that would help reduce vacancy and thus, tackle arrears.
Before embarking on his tenure as Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said that he had a plan to try and tackle the problem of pendency of cases which is bringing disrepute to the judiciary and reducing the system to irrelevance.
Attempt to streamline the practice of mentioning and giving short dates when matters are adjourned have been characteristic of Chief Justice Gogoi’s court.