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The Lok Sabha has passed a Bill to increase the number of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34 (including the CJI).

The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019 was moved by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday.

“It was not possible for the Chief Justice of India to constitute five judges Bench on a regular basis to hear cases involving significant question of law as to the understanding of the Constitution as it would result in constitution of less number of division benches which would lead to pendency in hearing of other civil and criminal matters,” he said.

Referring to the number of pending cases in Supreme Court, Prasad informed the lower houses that as on June 1 there were 58,669 cases pending in the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet on July 31 had approved the Bill.

The apex court presently is functioning with the sanctioned strength of 30 excluding the CJI. If the Bill gets passed by the Parliament, it will increase the tally of Judges to 33 excluding the CJI.

It may be recalled that CJI Ranjan Gogoi had previously written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to increase the strength of Supreme Court judges. CJI Gogoi had cited pendency of cases for increasing the number of judges in the Supreme Court.

He had also said that due to less number of Judges, he was unable to form the Constitution benches.

—India Legal Bureau

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