High courts in the country short of 234 judges


New Delhi : Even as nearly 4,000,000 cases are pending in various high courts around the country, there is a shortage of 234 judges, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said Thursday.

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As per a June 2009 estimate, the 21 high courts in the country have a total sanctioned strength of 886 judges, but the actual working strength is 652 judges, he told the Lok Sabha during the question hour.

At present, proposals for appointment of 42 judges in various high courts are under consideration by the government, he said.

Proposals are to be initiated by chief justices of the various high courts to fill up the remaining vacancies.

The Allahabad High Court, which has the maximum number of sanctioned strength of 160 judges in the country, has 72 vacancies, while the Andhra Pradesh High Court with a sanctioned strength of 49 judges is operating with a working strength of 30 judges.

Similarly, the Bombay High Court is running with 66 judges, nine short of the approved strength and the Calcutta High Court has a deficiency of 17 judges, whereas its approved strength is 58.

The Sikkim High Court is perhaps the only one where there is no shortfall of judges. It has three judges.

According to an estimate in December 2008, 3,914,669 cases were pending in the various high courts.

The Law Commission, in its 120th report, had recommended that the strength of judges per a million people might be increased from 10.5 to 50.

The present strength of judges in the country stood at 14 per million people. The strength of the high courts is reviewed every three years and the last triennial review was held in 2006.