Chairman of Law Commission of India and former Supreme Court judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan said that to meet the current judicial demands, India needs more "working judges", and increasing the "strength of judges" is not a solution, reported The Hindu.
In an interview with the newspaper, he pointed out that people are more aware of their rights, and that the judicial system has to play an important role to uphold the faith of the public and for the "expansion of liberty."
Appointment of judges has been a long-pending issue. According to PTI, appointment of nearly 25 new judges to various high courts is likely to be cleared by this weekend. These appointments are based on the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium made in April-May.
A few days back, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said that the number of judges should be increased to improve the judicial system, and for the progress of the country, reported The Indian Express. The report added that Thakur pointed out that there are only 18,000 judges to clear a backlog of over three crores cases in the country.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech, Justice Thakur had expressed his disappointment that the issue of appointment of judges did not find a mention in Modi's speech. He made an appeal to Modi and had said, "I want to tell the Prime Minister only one thing, you remove poverty, create employment, bring schemes etc but also think about justice for the countrymen."
According to government figures, most high courts in India are operating with almost half the sanctioned strength of judges and, in some cases, even one-third of the approved strength. The fresh appointments that are likely to be cleared soon are to be made to the Allahabad, Calcutta, Delhi, Rajasthan and the Bombay High Courts among others.
Asking Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instructions from the Centre, a bench headed by Justice Thakur, who also heads the five-member apex court collegium, said, "We won't tolerate logjam in judges' appointment which is stifling its judicial work. We will fasten accountability."
The bench also referred to the data with regard to vacancies in various high courts including Kerala, Uttarakhand and Karnataka and said, "The vacancy in high courts has risen to 43 percent and there are four million cases pending in the high courts. The whole system is collapsing."
With inputs from agencies