Supreme Court Judges are 32, two vacancies to be filled

The Supreme Court has a sanctioned judge strength of 34. (including the Chief Justice of India). As of the 25th of March, 2021, 32 judges have been appointed, leaving two vacancies to be filled. As originally enacted, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act 1956 set the maximum number of judges (excluding the Chief Justice of India) at ten. The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act of 1960 increased this number to 13, and the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act of 1977 increased it to 17.

The SC (Number of Judges) Amendment Act of 1986 increased the number of judges on the SC from 17 to 25, excluding the Chief Justice of India. Following that, in 2009, the SC (Number of Judges) Amendment Act increased the number of SupremeCourtJudges from 25 to 30.

In a letter dated 21.6.2019, the Chief Justice of India requested that the Government consider appropriately augmenting the SC’s Judge strength. Despite the fact that there were no criteria for determining the SC’s judge strength, the government considered increasing the judge strength due to a large number of cases pending resolution.

The Supreme court’s maximum strength is 34 including CJI

With effect from 09.08.2019, the Supreme Court of India’s sanctioned strength has been increased from 30 to 33 (excluding the Chief Justice of India). Following that, the government received no more proposals for increasing the number of Supreme Court judges.

The Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act of 2014, as well as the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act of 2014, went into effect on April 13, 2015. Both Acts, however, were challenged in the SC. Both Acts were declared unconstitutional and void by the SC in a judgment dated October 16, 2015. The Collegium system was declared operational prior to the implementation of the Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014. 

Following that, the SC, in an order dated 16.12.2015, directed the government to supplement the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) in consultation with the SC Collegium, taking into account eligibility criteria, transparency, and the establishment of a secretariat, and a complaint-handling mechanism. The Government is currently finalizing the MoP in consultation with the Supreme Court Collegium.

Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Law and Justice, provided this information in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on April 1st. 

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