The Parliament passed the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019 to increase the strength of the Supreme Court to thirty-three (33), excluding the Chief Justice of India, from the previous sanctioned strength of 30 judges and CJI.
It was passed as a money bill.
It was an amendment to the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956.
Why is the amendment being made to raise the strength?
It is to deal with the constant rise in the pendency of cases.
What are the details?
The pendency of cases in the Supreme Court of India has constantly been on the rise due to comparatively higher rate of institution of cases. As on the 1st day of June, 2019, there were 58669 cases pending in the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of India has intimated that inadequate strength of judges is one of the prime reasons for backlog of cases in the Supreme Court. It is not possible for the Chief Justice of India to constitute five Judges Bench on a regular basis to hear cases involving substantive question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution as it would result in constitution of less number of Division Benches which would lead to delay in hearing of other civil and criminal matters.
With the creation of the new high court in Andhra Pradesh, the country now has 25 high courts. This has led to increase in the disposal of cases at the High Court level leading to larger number of appeals to the Supreme Court.
What is the additional expenditure involved?
Creation of thee additional posts of judges in the Supreme Court would result in the total expenditure of Rs 6,81,54,528 drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India.