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With 4 judges sworn in, SC attains full strength

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday attained its full strength after the swearing of four new judges taking the total number of judges to 34, which is the highest ever.

Justices Krishna Murari, S.R. Bhat, V. Ramasubramanian and Hrishikesh Roy have been appointed as judges of the apex court.

In May, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking increase in the number of judges, and also raising the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 years.

On July 31, the Centre had approved increasing the number of Supreme Court judges from 30 to 33, besides the Chief Justice of India. On August 7, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha and the President signed it on August 10.

Justices V. Ramasubramanian and Hrishikesh Roy have headed the Himachal Pradesh High Court and Kerala High Court, respectively. Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Krishna Murari have headed the Rajasthan and Punjab and Haryana high courts.

The Centre on September 18, cleared the SC collegiums-recommendation on the names of the judges for the appointment to the top court.

The Chief Justice had written three letters to the Prime Minister. Citing the pendency of 58,669 cases in the apex court, the Chief Justice had sought urgent action to combat this pendency.

The Chief Justice had said due to lack of judges in the top court, the constitution of Constitution benches to conduct hearing of cases involving questions of law has not been formed.

In the letter, he brought it to the attention of the Centre that in 1988, the judge strength of the apex court was increased from 18 to 26, and twenty years later in 2009, the strength was increased to 31, which also includes the Chief Justice of India. He pointed out that the increase was necessary to expedite disposal of cases.

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