Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that there is no shortage of Judges in the Supreme Court.
"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," said Mr Prasad, in a response to a starred question in the Lok Sabha.
The union minister, however, asserted that there are 403 vacancies in the High Courts. "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 and increase in judge strength."
Mr Prasad said that the delay in disposal of cases in the higher judiciary is not only due to shortage of Judges, but due to other reasons such as increasing number of state and central legislation, accumulation of first appeals, number of revision or appeals, frequent adjournments, indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction and long duration of vacation period of Court.
He said that the Chief Justice has sent proposals for augmenting the judge-strength in Supreme Court so that it can function more efficiently and effectively.
"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 and for improving the vacancy position and reducing the pendency of cases," the union minister added.
Mr Shankar said that the matter of augmenting the judge-strength of the Supreme Court and increase in the retirement age of high court judges needs to be considered along with other measures to ensure transparency, accountability in the appointment of Judges and court and case management for the reduction in pendency of cases in the Higher Judiciary.