In a written reply the government also said there was no proposal to amend the Constitution to provide reservations in appointments of judges in Supreme Courts & High Courts.
“There is no shortage of Judges in the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has reached its full strength of 31 Judges for the first time since 2009. However, as on July 1, 2019, there are 403 vacancies in the High Courts,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha.
He said the appointment of judges in the High Courts is a continuous collaborative process between the Executive & the Judiciary, as it requires consultation & approval from various Constitutional authorities.
“While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges & increase in Judge Strength,” he said.
On pendency of cases in Supreme Courts & the High Courts, Prasad said that as on July 1, 2019, there were 59,331 cases pending in the Supreme Court while 43.55 lakh cases were pending in High Courts.
“The delay in disposal of cases in Higher Judiciary is not only due to a shortage of judges but also due to various factors such as increasing number of state & central legislation, accumulation of first appeals, the continuation of ordinary civil jurisdiction in some of the High Courts,” he said.
The Minister said that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has sent proposals for augmenting the Judge-strength in Supreme Court appropriately so that it can function more efficiently & effectively & retain the goal of rendering timely justice to litigant public.
“The CJI has also proposed to increase the retirement age of High Court judges for ensuring continued availability of more experienced judges for a longer tenure & for improving the vacancy position & reducing the pendency of cases,” he said.
To a query whether the government has received a suggestion from various parties for providing reservation in higher judicial recruitment & accordingly carry out amendment in the constitution of India is being carried out, the Minister said there was no such proposal.