Judges of SC Current Affairs - 2019

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Cabinet approves increasing strength of Supreme Court Judges

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved increasing the number of judges in Supreme Court from the present 31 to 34 (i.e. by 10%), including Chief Justice of India (CJI). In this regard it has approved bill to amend Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956. At present, the full sanctioned strength of SC is 31 (including CJI). Once this bill gets parliamentary nod, the number of judges would go up to 34, including the CJI.

Background

This decision of Union Cabinet comes after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested to increase number of judges in the Supreme Court. CJI in his letter had urged to augment judge-strength in SC appropriately so that it can function more efficiently and effectively and go a long way to attain ultimate goal of rendering timely justice to litigant public. He also had mentioned that due to paucity of judges, the required number of Constitution Benches of SC were not being formed to decide important cases involving questions of law. According to written reply by Law Minister to Rajya Sabha there are total 11, 59,331 cases are pending in the Supreme court.

SC Composition: Constitutional and Statutory Provisions

The strength of Supreme Court is fixed by law made by Parliament as per Article 124 (1) of Constitution of India. Therefore, the strength can be increased by way of parliamentary legislation. In pursuance of this Parliament has enacted Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956, which originally provided for maximum of 10 judges (excluding the CJI). The law was last amended in 2009 to increase judges’ strength from 25 to 30 (excluding the CJI).

Indu Malhotra: First woman lawyer to be directly promoted as SC judge

The Supreme Court collegium led by Chief Justice of India (CI) Dipak Misra has unanimously recommended name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court. With this, she becomes first woman lawyer from the country to be directly elected for post of judge of the Supreme Court.

Overall she will be seventh woman judge in SC, since it was established 67 years ago. In 1989, Justice M. Fathima Beevi became first woman judge in Supreme Court. At present, Justice R. Banumathi is lone woman judge in SC which currently has a strength of 25 judges of total sanctioned strength of 31 (including 31).

Indu Malhotra

Indu Malhotra is reputed senior advocate practising in SC or the past 30 years. She was born in 1956 in Bengaluru, Karnataka to noted advocate Om Prakash Malhotra.

She joined the legal profession in 1983 and later secured first position in Advocate-on-Record exam for Supreme Court. She has specialised in law of arbitration and has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations. She has authored Commentary on the Law and Practice of Arbitration in India (2014).

In 2007, she became second woman to be designated as senior advocate by SC only after legendary Justice Leila Seth, who was given honour in 1977. She is on board of trustees in SaveLIFE Foundation and represented NGO in case which resulted in SC passing a slew of laws to protect good Samaritans, who save lives in road accidents.