Centre seeks scientific data to hike judges' strength

In two years, 86 additional judges were made permanent: law minister

Centre seeks scientific data to hike judges' strength
Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Wednesday expressed his disagreement with Chief Justice of India’s emotional appeal for raising judges’ strength in subordinate courts by additional 40,000, saying the demand was not based on scientific and empirical data.

Gowda said the demand was not based on scientific and empirical data. “Unless we get some scientific data, we cannot say much about it,” the Minister said, in response to steps being undertaken by the government with regard to CJI Justice T S Thakur's remark last month that nothing has moved since the Law Commission's recommendation to make judge-population ratio from 10 to 50 per million in 1987.

“The Law Commission's report of 1987 was based on opinion of experts and general public. No scientific data is available on the issue. The SC has recently asked the Law Commission to look into the issue and I don't want to make comment on it as it is sub judice,” Gowda further said.

He, however, added that the judge-population ratio depended on several factors, including workload, and varied from state to state.

“There has been 17% increase in number of cases while the judges' number was raised to 42%,” he pointed out, adding judges sanctioned strength of the HCs has been increased from 906 on June 1, 2014 to 1,065 on April 27, 2016 and that of district courts from 17,715 at the end of 2012 to 20,502 in December, last.

Highlighting achievements of the NDA government in two years, the minister said 86 additional judges were made permanent and 51 new judges were appointed in different HCs and the recommendation of 170 names was under process. He also said that the Memorandum of Procedure, finalised by the government for judges appointment in HCs and the Supreme Court, still awaited the CJI-led collegium's recommendation.

With regard to initiatives towards 'Minimum Government Maximum Governance', the minister said as many as 1,175 obsolete Acts have been repealed and a high-level Inter-Ministerial Group has been constituted, which would lead to convergence of tribunals from current 36 to 17.  

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