Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Sunday said, the country needs about 70,000 judges for smooth conduct of the courts and clearing the huge backlog of cases.
Describing the shortage of judges a formidable challenge, the CJI said, while the judiciary is keen to ensure that appointment of judges is made quickly, “the machinery involved with the appointment of judges continues to grind very slowly.” The CJI once again raised the issue while addressing a large gathering of legal luminaries here on the occasion of centennial celebrations of circuit bench of High Court.
Going by the Law Commission’s assessment in 1987, the requirement then was for 44,000 judges. Even after 30 years, the judiciary system continues to operate with a depleted strength, he said. The current requirement would be 70,000 judges considering the population growth and litigations, he added.
Justice Thakur said, about three crore cases are pending in different courts while 30 lakhs cases are awaiting disposal before the High Courts. Out of 900 sanctioned posts for judges in High Courts across the country, about 450 are lying vacant.
Shortage of judges was one of the formidable challenges the judiciary was facing, the CJI said disclosing that out of some 900 sanctioned posts of judges in different High Courts, there were over 450 vacancies, which needed to be filled immediately. He Access to justice is a fundamental right and the government cannot afford to deny the people their fundamental right,” he said.