10th December, 2002
Ministry of Law & Justice  


INCREASING STRENGTH OF JUDGES


The Supreme Courtís judgement of March 21, 2002, in All India Judges Association and Others Vs. Union of India and Others directing the Government to increase the judge strength from the existing ratio of 13 judges per 10 lakh people to 50 judges per 10 lakh people within a period of five years in a phased manner to be determined and directed by the Union Ministry of Law, if implemented, will increase the judge strength to 51,351 judges at 50 judges per 1 million population as per the Census 2001 from the existing strength of judges at 15,095. At present, there are 14.7 judges per million population in the country.

Meanwhile, the Central Government has filed application before the Supreme Court, seeking modification of its directions for increase in judge strength on the basis of population in respect of Union Territories and permit the Union Government to determine the appropriate judge strength based on the relevant factors including pendency of cases. The matter is sub judice.

The Centre has also addressed the State Governments for taking necessary action to increase the judge strength in keeping with the directions of the Supreme Court.

The judge strength in the Supreme Court is as provided for in the Constitution of India. The judge strength in the High Courts is reviewed once in three years as per prescribed norms on the basis of figures of institution, disposal and pendency of cases in each High Court. As for district and subordinate courts, the judge strength is worked out by State Governments in consultation with the concerned High Courts.

The Law Commission of India in its 120th report on Manpower Planning in Judiciary : A Blue Print in July 1987, observed that the strength of judicial officers in India was far less as compared to certain other countries. The Commission recommended that the present strength of 10.5 judges per million population be increased to 50 judges per million population in a phased manner.